It was trust, drive and experience that brought Todd Newman and Tom Garrett to believe that together they could make their own mark on Napa Valley. After years of working under numerous winemaking legends, these two friends set out with a determination to craft wines that would rival the best of what Napa Valley had to offer - and to build their own world-class estate.
Todd and Tom share a mutual passion for the history, wines and vineyards of Napa Valley. They craft a collection of wines - from the pinnacle of quality and luxury to world-class Cabernet Sauvignon that can proudly be placed on the table and enjoyed every day.
Sourcing Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from a range of exceptional vineyards, nurturing a small team of talented individuals and working in a superior winemaking facility to create our wines, we know that every vintage at Dakota Shy will be better than the last.
Building a team of exceptional talent was critical to ensuring the success of Dakota Shy. We sought to create a diverse team whose individual skills and personalities formed a powerful equilibrium, allowing us to collectively craft impeccable wines and deliver them in a hospitable and innovative environment. No one person on this team is siloed to a specific role. If hands are needed at 5:00 am during harvest, the hospitality team will be there. If a hospitality member has a sick child at home, someone from Production will enjoy a few hours with our guests. Our teamwork and diverse skill sets allow for the fluid and dynamic experience of a family.
Todd Newman was raised in a small farming town just outside of Minot, North Dakota. An early understanding of hard work and commitment to getting the job done set the tone early in life for what he wanted and how he was going to get there.
Arriving in Napa Valley in 2002 at just 22 years old, he initially set out to learn the restaurant business. But he soon realized that the farming aspects of Napa paralleled that of his home and with it, a comfort and understanding of the wine industry and community in general. The turning point occurred one night while waiting tables at one of the many Michelin starred restaurants in Napa Valley. “I remember one night, waiting on a grower and a winemaker who were talking vineyards while drinking a super-star bottle of wine - and I realized that is what I wanted to do.”
Todd started working with Tom Garrett in 2005 at Revana Family Vineyards. At the time, the famed Heidi Barrett was making the wines for Dr. Revana and Tom was her assistant winemaker. “Those two vintages in the cellar gave me the foundation to start a winery. You start at the bottom and you work your way up. That’s how I did it.”
Years later Todd & Tom would launch a small brand aptly, named Dakota Shy. The word Dakota represented strength, while Shy was code for unknown or doubt. Strength and Humility – Balance – essential in life, but also in winemaking.
“I knew I had the work ethic to make it happen, but I didn’t know if I belonged here or if this was a place for me. Small town kid in the epicenter of one of the world’s greatest wine making regions was a big bite to chew through.”
Yet, from humble beginnings, Dakota Shy flourished. Small production Cabernets were created under the brand. Access to the best farming in all of Napa, coupled with some of the industry’s best mentors, solidified by a friendship between Todd and Tom, set the course for what has transpired today.
As Todd says, “Dakota Shy is a platform, an incubator of sorts, where people who are hungry in life, who want to chase after a dream, whatever that dream may be, can come and contribute to what we do and hopefully set the course of their own American Dream.”
That is what we celebrate the most – the idea of a dream. And the ability to chase after it.
Dakota Shy is a combination of business, friendship, family and wine that is electrifying. It gives me the opportunity to use my skills in an industry that I love and to work with partners, employees and growers toward a common goal of making exceptional wines.
I get to work with some of Napa Valley’s most outstanding vineyard sources and growers. I collaborate daily with people who motivate and inspire each other toward greater success. All in a culture of respect, hard work and celebration of achievement.
With Dakota Shy, I am crafting Cabernets in league with the best in the world and expanding the boundaries of quality and precision in my winemaking.
My family roots in Napa Valley stretch back to the early 1950s when my great-grandmother purchased a historic Oakville vineyard property within the famed To-Kalon Vineyard. 50 years later, I began Detert Family Vineyard wines, named after my great-grandmother and made from my family’s Oakville vineyard. Over the past 20 years, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to work alongside great winemakers and mentors at Turley Wine Cellars, Joseph Phelps Winery, Robert Mondavi Winery and Revana Family Vineyard. I continue to make my family’s highly regarded Detert wines.
Todd Newman asked me to join him in Dakota Shy shortly after he created the brand. I am amazed by what we have accomplished since then and I know the best is still ahead.
A love of Cabernet Sauvignon along with the beautiful natural landscape of the region drew Ryan to call Napa Valley home. Arriving in 2007, he began his wine career at Larkmead Vineyards after being a founding wine club member. After spending five years with Larkmead, Ryan transitioned to become General Manager at Kelly Fleming Wines in Calistoga. After an additional stint as GM of Checkerboard Vineyards on Diamond Mountain, he started his own consulting company assisting small wineries with operations and marketing. Dakota Shy became his first client and then moved to a permanent position with the Dakota Shy family.
A long time veteran of the food and wine world Payton has honed his skills in numerous venues both domestically and internationally. Following studies at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park NY he established himself in the vibrant Napa Valley restaurant world where he would cross paths with Todd Newman while working at the iconic Michelin starred Martini House in St. Helena. Through the years the wine industry led him into import, export and restaurant ventures overseas but the pull of coming back to Napa and helping long time friend Todd Newman take Dakota Shy to the next level prevailed.
Pete has pursued a more detailed understanding of the way things work from an early age and relationships between scientific disciplines grips his attention. Viewing wine through this prism, he arrived in Napa Valley from Pennsylvania to work the 2015 harvest at Hunnicutt Winery, a premier custom-crush facility located in St. Helena. Here, Pete engaged with the Valley’s most exciting consulting winemakers and learned cellar practices from a creative and meticulous staff. After the 2016 vintage at Frankland Estate in Western Australia, he returned to Hunnicutt and built a relationship with Tom Garrett and Todd Newman. He joined the Dakota Shy team in 2017 in time to help with the winery’s completion and crush its inaugural harvest.
Austin was born in Louisville, Kentucky and raised by determined young parents who taught her that there is no substitute for hard work. After college, she began a career in nursing but also bartended two nights a week as relief from the day job. She loved that introduction to hospitality and got serious about it - joining the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group in Yountville. As the Private Dining and Events Manager, she was able to flex her creativity by orchestrating distinctive events and weddings. After that experience, she began working for iconic wine maker, Benoit Touquette. At the helm of his personal brands, Fait-Main and Teeter-Totter, she got an education in brand management and operations. Just as she was ready to bridge her experience in sales and hospitality with an appreciation for operations, Dakota Shy was adding to their team. Austin feels a deep sense of connection with Todd’s journey, Tom’s winemaking and the ethos of Dakota Shy.
Alisha discovered her love of the hospitality industry through restaurants. While attending The Ohio State University studying Art History, she began working for restauranteur Cameron Mitchell where she obtained a passion for food and wine while on the opening-staff of three different establishments. In 2002, it was time to leave her home state of Ohio and seek adventure. She decided to drive across country to San Francisco where she honed her hospitality skills as a Captain at Michelin star restaurant, Boulevard, for the next 10 years. This is where she learned that creating an unparalleled guest experience is an art form. Sharing a passion for wine with her sommelier husband led them to a life in Napa. Learning more about wine from Michelin star Auberge du Soleil and Etude winery led her to Dakota Shy. Instantly there was a connection of humble beginnings and the love of exceptional wine.
After growing up in Mississippi, arrived in Napa in 2016 and immediately felt the allure of the lush and lively landscapes to which Napa calls home. Matched with a growing fascination for the wine industry, Billy decided to get hands on experience making wine by working his first harvest season at David Arthur. Following the 2016 harvest season, Billy was determined to return to Napa and, after a call with Tom in the summer of 2017, was presented with the opportunity to do so by joining Dakota Shy for harvest. Since then, Billy stayed on as a full-time member of the cellar team and in 2021 moved over into hospitality.
Euan Rannachan was born and raised in London, England and now resides in the San Francisco Bay area with his wife and two children.
Euan was classically trained in Traditional Illustrations from the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, but what he creates far exceeds such a title, for nothing about his work is traditional. Euan is constantly pushing the boundary of aesthetic expression. He is a bold, versatile artist with evolving styles and creative artistic techniques.
Ansel Adams once said, "You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” Euan makes magic happen. His work evokes raw emotion and he is so lucky to have found his passion, and consequently, his calling.
Euan hosts annual art shows in the San Francisco Bay Area which showcase a variety of mediums, particularly photography and acrylic painting. For more information about future art shows, please click here www.euanart.com.
Growing up in California’s Central Valley in a multi-generational winemaking family, Marco developed a fascination with the process that takes grapes from the vine to the glass. His education continued at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where he studied enology and gained valuable work experience with a winery in the Edna Valley. After completing his degree, Marco joined Dakota Shy for the harvest of 2020 as an intern. Thrilled to be working with wine in its most raw form and fruit from a wide range of exceptional Napa Valley vineyards, Marco’s enthusiasm and work ethic made him a natural for the Dakota Shy team. Marco has been a part of the collaborative process at the highest level of winemaking with us while also developing a deep respect for Napa Valley.
With a background in agriculture research at UC Davis and NASA, Niko came to California with the goal of improving the resilience and quality of Napa Valley grapevines. He was impressed by Dakota Shy’s diverse vineyard portfolio and Tom Garret’s involvement in research extension and outreach projects, and he dove into the 2021 harvest just two days after his UC Davis contract. Niko has enjoyed being able to offer his ag research perspective to conversations with growers, and his desire to question and improve found its place on Dakota Shy’s winemaking team.
Dennis has more than 25 years of experience in the food & wine industry. As the Head Sommelier of The French Laundry from 2008-2015, he led one of the finest wine & spirits programs in the world. With a comprehensive collection including more than 2,500 selections, The French Laundry wine list earned the coveted Wine Spectator “Grand Award” in each year that he led the program.
In 2010, Wine & Spirits called Dennis the “Best New Sommelier” and in 2012 he earned the Master Sommelier Diploma from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Dennis has been featured in The World of Fine Wine, Wine Spectator, Wine & Spirits and Art Culinaire, and has written published articles for The World of Fine Wine and Decanting Napa Valley: The Cookbook.
With his encyclopedic knowledge of wine and un-paralleled tasting background, Dennis provides us with valuable perspective.