Brothers recognized for their world class grapes, sustainable farming practices and community leadership
In 1964, The Dutton Ranch was created by Joe & Steve’s parent, Warren & Gail Dutton. The family started farming French colombard grapes and apples at their Graton ranch, west of Sebastopol. Continuing this family legacy, 5th generation farmers, Joe and Steve are currently co-owners of the family ranch, which has gained notoriety for world class grapes and certified organic apples. For the Duttons, farming sustainably has been at the forefront of their practices for years, with a focus on preserving agriculture, taking care of their employees and maintaining a business that can be passed down to the next generation.
“Sustainability is doing the best we can for our own business, our employees and the environment, while keeping the bottom line always in mind,” says Steve Dutton. “Involving our kids and transitioning our business to the next generation is what we believe sustainability is all about.”
The two brothers both grew up on the ranch and have only really had one job – working on the family ranch. They started by helping their father with whatever work he had for them to do. Steve began working on the ranch in 1987, after his return from studying 2 years at the University of California, Davis. Joe then began working alongside his father and brother Steve after he graduated high school in Forestville, California. In honor of their farming legacy, Joe and Steve plan on continuing the family business and enhancing their success, by including the next generation of the Dutton family.
The brothers have a close nit relationship in their personal and professional lives. Steve shares, “There’s no one I trust more than my brother Joe.”
The brothers are proud to grow world class grapes and turn them into world class wine. With a focus on unparalleled quality, they have partnerships with over 70 wineries and work with each one to grow the best grapes for their wine programs. They farm over 400 separate grape blocks with different harvest picks that deliver premium grapes that are the foundation for many wines that proudly bear the Dutton Ranch vineyard designation.
The Dutton’s also go above and beyond to take care of their employees. Currently, they house 94 employees on the ranch and have 15 houses for foremen and their families.
Joe and Steve Dutton have given so much to the community and continue to do so by remaining on multiple boards in Sonoma County. Joe is currently the Chairman of the Sonoma County Winegrowers, President of the Goldridge Resource Conservation District Board of Directors, and sits on the SRJC Viticultural Advisory Committee with his brother. Steve is President of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau Board, along with being President of the Board of the Russian River Valley Wine Growers Foundation. He also holds seats on the Exchange Bank Board, SRJC Viticultural Advisory Committee, and the Advisory Board of Sonoma County Farm Trails.
The Dutton brothers are thankful to work every day and honored and proud to receive this award. “We like to farm,” Steve says. “It’s never the same day twice.”
Being recognized for their farming and their commitment to the community is not new. Warren Dutton received ‘Outstanding Young Farmer’ award in 1977, Steve then received the same award in 1999 and then Joe in 2000. The Sonoma County Harvest Fair is proud to add another honor for the Dutton family and recognize Joe and Steve Dutton of Dutton Ranch with the 2017 Sustainable Farmer award.
The Dutton brothers will be celebrated during a ceremony and dinner to be held October 1 at Luther Burbank Center for the Arts. The celebration is open to the public with a limited number of tickets available at HarvestFair.org or at the Harvest Fair Box Office located at 1350 Bennett Valley Road in Santa Rosa.
The 2017 Sonoma County Harvest Fair is October 6-8 at the Sonoma County Event Center at the Fairgrounds. Visit HarvestFair.org or call (707) 545-4200 or find “Sonoma County Harvest Fair” on Facebook.