Devo Founder Launches New Wine Brand and Estate, THE 50 BY 50

Devo Founder Launches New Wine Brand and Estate, THE 50 BY 50
On Wednesday, April 30, CASALE will host the first tasting party for the launch of his debut wines from THE 50 BY 50 at the Kun House--designed in 1936 by renowned architect Richard Neutra for journalist Josef Kun--in the Hollywood Hills. At this event presented exclusively by Wally's Wine & Spirits, guests will get to taste the debut wines from THE 50 BY 50 which currently include: the 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and the 2013 Sonoma Coast Rosé of Pinot Noir. Tickets are available to the general public, here: or

THE 50 BY 50 brand marks the evolution of GERALD's longtime passion for wine which started in 1978 when DEVO--the iconic new wave, art punk group CASALE co-founded with Mark Mothersbaugh--left Ohio for the promise of California which delivered an explosive wake-up call to food and wine. “Commensurate with our ‘new wave' music revolution, there was a gang of new wave chefs inventing culinary dreams in Los Angeles. I met restaurateurs Michael McCarty (Michael's), Bruce Marder (Brentwood Restaurant, House Café), Wolfgang Puck (Spago, Wolfgang Punk, Chinois on Main, WP24), Piero Selvaggio (Valentino) and Jeremiah Tower (Stars) among others,” explains CASALE. “I became a disciple of the new California cuisine and the California wines with which it was often paired. After attending an endless array of California winemaker dinners, meeting many of the best, I drank my way to knowledge.”

"I'm often asked why we are launching THE 50 BY 50 with a Pinot Noir and a Rose of Pinot Noir,” CASALE adds. “The answer is, I love the varietal, and I am a Pinot Noir junkie.” By 1990, DEVO had toured the world seven times over. CASALE became enamored with Italian and Spanish wines including Barbaresco, Barolo, Brunello, the Super Tuscans (Italy) and Vega Sicilia from Spain. One fateful night before a show in Paris, a French promoter started opening some legendary Domaine de la Romanée Conti (DRC) wines and CASALE fell in love with Pinot Noir. After returning to the states a short period later, CASALE gave California Pinot Noirs--which were reasonably priced and in low demand--another try. After enjoying a bottle of 1989 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir with breast of duck, he never looked back.

Since Pinot Noir grapes don't thrive in Napa's Wooden Valley, THE 50 BY 50 went to the best location nearby to purchase the fruit where they do thrive--the Sonoma Coast. GERALD explains, “Our ambitious five-year plan for releasing our first vintage of complex, Bordeaux-style Estate wine is on course. Meanwhile, to launch our 50 by 50 brand, we are offering the 2012 Pinot Noir and 2013 Rose of Pinot Noir as our debut releases. The fruit for both wines was grown and harvested at Rodger's Creek, in the Sonoma Coast AVA (American Viticultural Area), helmed by Randy Luginbill and Jonathan Gold, veterans with 30 years of experience. Rodger's Creek vines are 12 years old. The soils are a Kidd stony loam and our grapes came from vines on an approximately 9 percent slope at an elevation of 675 feet.”

The anchor of THE 50 BY 50 vision and its namesake rests in the creation of its estate house, a realization of a never-built architectural masterpiece known as the “50 by 50” designed over 60 years ago by the pre-eminent, 20th Century Modernist architect Mies Van Der Rohe. “Centrally located on the flat basin of THE 50 BY 50 Estate, it is the true inspiration of our brand,” GERALD explains. “This perfectly square design is clad in 8 high tempered glass panels measuring 10 feet high x 25 feet long. Therefore, each clear glass wall is bisected by only one vertical, load-bearing post. The view from inside gives the occupants an uninterrupted, 360 degree panorama of the 50 by 50 Estate with its gentle slopes, giant live oaks, terraced rows of grape vines and the mountains beyond.”

THE 50 BY 50 Estate is a 23-acre property situated southeast of the Atlas Peak AVA (American Viticultural Area) and north of the Wild Horse AVA on the Monticello Road incline in the Wooden Valley of Napa, CA. Starting at a roadside elevation of 830 feet, it meanders pleasantly down to 600 feet. The gentle slopes are covered with “forward gravelly loam,” a rich volcanic soil that drains well and lends itself perfectly to the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot varietals which are being planted there for the purpose of producing an exquisite, hand-crafted, bio-dynamically farmed Bordeaux-style blend in the coming years.

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