Greg Allen set out to earn a PhD in Mechanical Engineering and spent a number of years pursuing this goal, but the lure of making wine – Dolce in particular – eventually won his loyalty.
A San Diego, CA native, Allen graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from San Diego State University in 1992 and began working at California’s Mare Island Naval Shipyard as an engineer for the Department of Defense. While working at Mare Island, Allen lived in the town of Napa, and experienced his first visit to a winery – an experience which was both inspiring and ultimately life changing.
While pursuing a PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Allen began seriously considering a career in the wine industry. Through the encouragement of friends and family, Allen contacted and then visited the University of California at Davis to learn about the Enology & Viticulture program.
The visit to UC Davis in 1995 furthered Allen’s desire to study winemaking. He finished his studies at MIT with a Master of Science Degree, took a harvest internship with Far Niente in 1996, followed by a temporary position with Franciscan Winery and internships with two Australian wineries.
Still undecided at the time about whether to pursue engineering or winemaking, Allen says, “I realized that I continued to dream about making wine and never once did I dream about biomechanics.” His decision was made.
In January 2000, Allen was hired as a cellar worker at Far Niente, and soon moved into the lab as staff enologist. That fall, he transferred to the newly created position of assistant winemaker for Dolce and was promoted to winemaker in February 2001. Allen was named president of Dolce in 2008 and continues as winemaker.
“I feel like Dolce is the perfect wine for me to make. My background in mechanical engineering required patience and the ability to focus singularly on a specialized and technical subject. Though the specific challenges of making a single late harvest wine are remarkably different, the task of meeting these challenges is familiar,” says Allen.
A resident of Napa, Allen obtained his Master of Science degree in Enology at UC Davis, in fall 2004.