Donelan Family Wines

Wines of elegance begin with extraordinary vineyards. -Donelan Family Vineyards

Everything we look for at Cellar Angels – passion, family, wine – can be found at the heart of the Donelan family. In the 1980s, Founder Joe Donelan started his wine journey, inspired by a passionate sommelier at a restaurant on Nantucket. This life-changing education elevated his wine acumen from discerning drinker to master oenophile. Now working hand in hand with his two sons Cushing and Tripp, Donelan Family Wines is the epitome of a true family-run winery.


The foundation of the winery began with the family’s estate vineyard, Obsidian. Named after the black volcanic glass in the bedrock beneath the vines, it is one of the most unique in California. It is here the family believes Syrah trumps Cabernet, with its depth of aromas and flavors produced in this unique terroir. In addition to the Rhône varietals Grenache and Mourvedre, they have rounded out the portfolio with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, two more of Sonoma’s famed varieties.

According to Joe, “The cornerstone is terroir. We don’t make wine. We find sites that express extraordinary flavors.” When sourcing vineyards, the family looks for sustainable, often certified organic plots that have no blueprint for duplication and fully express their unique terroir.

David Milner now leads the winemaking at Donelan, working under the tutelage of Advisor and Former Head Winemaker Joe Nielsen. David’s interest in wine began during his time at Sonoma State University where he regularly sampled local wines and discovered the desire to learn more. After years of tasting room and cellar experience under his belt, David had the opportunity to work with two highly respected Napa Valley estate wineries – the Eisele Vineyard and Groth – followed by a couple of small family wineries in Sonoma County. In 2017, David joined Donelan Family Wines as Cellar Master and was promoted to Winemaker in 2019.
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Donelan Family Wines
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