My career in the wine industry began as a summer job. During that first harvest, my job was to deliver five tons of grapes at a time, down the mountain, in a one-ton truck. It was from that experience that I knew I wanted to be a winemaker. I began my professional career with Kenwood Vineyards in 1986, where we specialized in vineyard-designated Zinfandels and Cabernets grown in Sonoma Valley.
In 1998, I left my position as Cellarmaster for Kenwood and joined the wine-making team at Benziger Family Winery, just down the road in Glen Ellen. My focus was the production of wines for the Benziger Family Ranch including Tribute, Imagery Estate and Benziger vineyard designates, and in particular the Zinfandel wines for Benziger and Imagery Estate. It was at Benziger that I was introduced to biodynamics and organic farming. At the time, both practices were new to the industry and we developed winemaking methods to go along with the farming practices.
I loved the idea of bringing cutting-edge techniques to age-old winemaking processes. With a passion for creating small-lot, distinctive wines, I was thrilled to join the Lasseter Family Vineyards in 2007 and to have the opportunity to create premium vintages of Rhone and Bordeaux-inspired blends from organically-grown grapes. It was also in 2007 that our son, Dane was born, becoming the inspiration and namesake for the opening of Dane Cellars, that same year.
The Hansen Family
My wife, Teri and I were married in 2003. I persuaded her to move from Marin to my home in the Sonoma Valley. Our common thread was our love of animals and our love of fine wine. We were blessed to have in son in early 2007. We make wine in this beautiful valley surrounded by a toddler, two Australian Shepherds, and our Quarter Horse, Scooter.