Vineyard {511}
vineyard 511

A Diamond Mountain District Find

Named simply for the house number at  which  its  one  acre  of  grapes  is located,  Ed and Irene Ojdana’s Vineyard {511} is an under-the-radar Diamond Mountain District gem. And with production at a mere 150 to 200 cases annually, devotees of the nano-winery likely prefer to keep their ‘find’ under wraps. But with wine critic Jeff Dunnick  bestowing  a 95 rating to the winery’s 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon and declaring himself a fan, Vineyard {511’s} anonymity wavers.

Rob Lloyd is the winemaker; he brings to his three Vineyard {511} varietals expertise well-honed at La Crema and Rombauer, and with his own Lloyd label. He makes a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon – the winery’s hallmark – as well as small amounts of Carneros-sourced Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, each saved for club members only. Lloyd ages the Cabernet for 30 months in 100% new French oak, then another 1.5 years in bottle before release.

“People tend to find us when they are seeking something a bit different,”   said Ed. He and his wife Irene founded  the winery in 2008 after his retirement as CEO of   Experian   Interactive,  a division of Experian, a leading global information services company. Irene is a retired university English teacher and human resources executive. They joke that their   interest in wine is the result of falling-in with the wrong crowd. “Many of our colleagues were very into wine, and we followed suit,” said Ed. He acknowledged that the bigger influence was his 2004 appointment to the University of California, Davis, Executive Leadership Board for the Department of Viticulture and Enology, a position he continues to hold and one that has helped to foster his wine business acumen.

Vineyard {511} fans learn of the winery via  word  of  mouth, at public tastings where the Ojdanas  are  frequent pourers, or simply by chance meetings with the well-traveled and adventurous duo. John Eliason became a wine club member after meeting the couple on  a  Belize  jungle trek to a Mayan excavation site. “It seems there’s a special combination between Rob Lloyd (I think this is his best work) and Ed and Irene (meet them, and your life is elevated),” said Eliason. “It’s like 1 + 1 = 11; like the Beatles making music up on Diamond Mountain.”

“This property has everything we were looking for,” said Irene, who acknowledges the trials and tribulations the region has endured over the past few years.  “One  of the things we value most is the ongoing spirit of congeniality and cooperation. One of our greatest joys in entering this business is all of the friends we’ve made.”




Article By: Fran Miller