Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery’s winemaker Stephen C. Dollar joined the Excelsior Springs, Missouri-based winery in June 2017.
“Fence Stile is part of the booming Missouri wine scene. It gives me an opportunity to work in a small, family-operated winery dedicated to quality,” says Stephen. “I believe that at any winery, the focus should first be on the quality of the wines made there. I am excited to be part of the team that where Fence Stile continues to do just that.”
Stephen is a 2012 graduate of the VESTA-certified enology program at Arkansas Tech University/Ozark. The Viticulture Enology Science and Technology Alliance (VESTA) is a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded partnership between the Missouri State University system and colleges, universities, vineyards and wineries across America.
His practical winery experience began in 2010 at Wiederkehr Wine Cellars in Altus, Arkansas. Next, he worked as the winemaker at Chateaux Aux Arc, also in Altus, for the 2012 and 2013 vintages. He has also consulted and provided hands-on expertise on viticulture and enology matters at Circle T Winery & Vineyards in Charleston, Arkansas.
In 2014, he was hired as the founding winemaker at Sassafras Springs Vineyard in Springdale, Arkansas. There, he made wines that won awards from open competitions in New York State and California. Stephen also managed the tasting room and staff at Sassafras. He initiated a food and wine program at Sassafras and selected gourmet pairings for special events.
While in Northwest Arkansas, he began sommelier training, passing the first level of classes as well as the tasting test toward level 2 certification. He put this experience to use by leading tasting events at venues such as the Art Center for the Ozarks.
“At first, I was attracted to the technical aspects of winemaking,” says Stephen. “Once my tasting experience broadened, I realized that there was artistry to be combined with the chemistry. It is a balance of the two that I seek. My goal is always to find good fruit and allow its character to show through in the wine made from it.”
Stephen contributes his experience, skills, and energy to the Fence Stile team that includes owner-founder Shriti Hallberg Plimpton, general manager and culinary director Pete Dulin, and vineyard manager Shawna Mull.
As the 2017 harvest season approaches, Stephen is working closely with Shriti and Shawn to plan, prepare equipment, and assess the growth of the grapes. Along with Shriti, he is evaluating all aspects of the winemaking process that will shape wines produced from this year's vintage.
"Preparing for the 2017 crush also involves selection of yeast and bacteria, characteristics for oaked wine, and flavor profiles. As the grapes mature, we will conduct daily grape tastings," says Stephen. "It is important that we understand the sugars and flavors of the grapes as they progress."
As harvest season approaches from late August through October, Fence Stile Vineyards seeks volunteers to help with picking grapes. Experience the vineyards while among the vines of Vignoles, Seyval, Chambourcin and other grapes with fellow wine lovers and our team. Enjoy a harvest lunch prepared by our culinary director that includes wine from Fence Stile. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up and receive more details.
Gazpacho, a cool, refreshing summer soup, sounds ideal in hot weather for the Chef's Special this weekend, July 22-23, 2017.
Eaten in Spain and Portugal during hot summers, gazpacho is served cold as a light meal. The soup is made with ripe tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, onion, bell pepper, and other fresh produce that's abundant at the farmers market this time of year.
Gazpacho pairs well with Fence Stile's KAIscape, a wine made in the Portuguese vinho verde style, as well as Loft Red.
Also on the menu, we'll have mini cheese quiche made with fresh vegetables from the farmers market and sweet corn aioli. Aioli is a light, rustic version of mayonnaise made with garlic, olive oil, egg and lemon juice. Try pairing these bite-sized quiche with Becca's Blend, Sejour, Vidal Blanc, or Loft Red.
The Chef's Special is available this weekend while supplies last. Drop in for a bite to eat, share a bottle of wine, and listen to the lively sounds of the Joel Gordon Jazz Trio from 2 to 4 pm.
Can't make it to the winery on Saturday? We have Wine-in Friday, July 21, at sunset. Drive to the winery for the evening, bring a meal (no outside beverages, please) or order from our Nibbles menu, and stay for the film No Reservations that begins at dusk.
Have you ever wondered what you will see and experience on the Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery tour? Curious about the CELLAR57 club room and the wine caves?
Guide Kevin Snedden greets guests in the Assemblage Room to discuss the basics of wine varietals. Guests learn how to taste and smell wine so they obtain a richer sensory experience while sampling Fence Stile's wines. Kevin next takes the group on a tour of the winery grounds surrounded by the vineyards. Other tour stops include the Tasting Room, patio, production facility where wine is made, and crush pad used during harvest. Kevin provides an informative and entertaining account of the winery's history and unique features, such as its energy-efficient construction and design aspects that impact the wine harvest, crush, and production.
The tour commences with a visit to the CELLAR57 club room for more wine sampling and a tour of the wine cave. Seated in the wine cave, Kevin conducts an additional tasting by candlelight. View the photos below for a glimpse of what our tour guests experience.
Reservations are required to enjoy a tour of the property and the winery as well as a tasting by candlelight in the CELLAR57 club room and the wine caves. Keep the tasting glass and enjoy 10-percent off the wines purchased on the tour! $35/person.
Upcoming tour dates. Check the calendar for additional dates. Contact us at email@example.com to reserve a spot.
July 15th - 12:30 pm
July 29th - 2:00 pm
Pete Dulin, general manager and culinary director at Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery, contributes an array of skills and experience in business operations, communications, and cuisine.
In coordination with winery owner-founder Shriti Hallberg Plimpton, Pete manages operations, business development, and special events at Fence Stile. His responsibilities also include online communications for the website, newsletter, and social media, and media relations.
“I look forward to telling the story of Fence Stile’s vineyards and wines through words, video, and images as the seasons change,” says Pete. “From the spring bud break to fall harvest and the process of transforming grapes to wine, Fence Stile’s lush countryside setting, talented operations team, and the grapes have rich stories worth sharing.”
As culinary director, Pete creates custom menus and prepares food for special events, such as the Small Bites wine and food pairings, corporate events, and private catering. This summer, he also launched a “chef’s special” at the tasting room on weekends. Dulin selects produce and goods from the City Market and other vendors in Kansas City in the morning and prepares a weekend special of seasonal, small-batch dishes designed to pair with Fence Stile’s wines.
“Food is communal, an expression of hospitality that extends to family, friends, and guests,” says Pete. “It’s the same with wine, sharing a bottle of Vignoles or sparkling wine with others to celebrate, commiserate, or simply toast a well-lived day. I want to produce food that marries well with Fence Stile’s wines and creates an inviting setting for our guests and friends.”
Dulin’s French-based culinary experience traces back to his kitchen work at Le Fou Frog in Kansas City as well as catering and culinary work in KC and Boston. Dulin draws on his Thai upbringing, French training, and love of ingredients from other cultures to create flavorful dishes.
A native of Kansas City, Pete is perhaps best known for his work as an author, freelance writer, photographer, and editor. He has written about food, drink, business, and community for print and online publications for nearly 20 years. His work has appeared in Feast Magazine, Flatland, The Kansas City Star, Thinking Bigger, Visit KC, Northland Lifestyle, River Front Times, and other publications. He was the co-founder and editor-in-chief of PresentMagazine.com, an online food, arts, and culture magazine from 2006–2011.
He is the author of the travel guide Expedition of Thirst: Exploring Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries Across the Heart of Kansas and Missouri (October 2017 release), Kansas City Beer: A History of Brewing in the Heartland, Last Bite: 100 Simple Recipes from Kansas City’s Best Chefs and Cooks, and KC Ale Trail.
His business experience includes decade-long corporate work in the mutual fund industry, entrepreneurship, managing a small family-run business, and consulting.
“I’m excited to work with Shriti, who founded Fence Stile with a bold vision, vineyard manager Shawna Mull, winemaker Stephen Dollar, and our tasting room team,” says Pete. “I’m eager to learn and share knowledge of our wines, winemaking processes, and the story of Fence Stile.”
Culinary director Pete Dulin introduces Chef Specials this weekend, July 15–16, at the winery's tasting room.
Pete selects fresh produce and goods from the City Market and other vendors in Kansas City on Saturday mornings. He uses those ingredients to prepare seasonal, small-batch dishes designed to pair with Fence Stile's wines. Available on Saturdays and Sundays, the dishes are prepared in limited quantities. In other words, first come, first serve!
Each weekend features a rotating variety of dishes based on what inspires Pete at the farmers market and seasonal availability.
July 15–16 Menu
Rosemary zucchini blue cheese tarts – Locally grown zucchini and yellow squash topped with fresh rosemary and savory blue cheese tucked in a flaky, handmade tart crust. Try this tart with sweet Vidal Blanc, semi-dry Becca's Blend, or KAIscape.
Summer berry lemon ricotta tarts – Flaky tarts filled with creamy ricotta, fresh lemon zest, blackberries from our vineyard patch, and strawberries from the farmers market. Pair this fruit tart with Remmus, our dry rosé, or Sejour, a semi-dry sparkling rosé.
Tomato, caramelized onion, and olive salad – Inspired by savory onion tarts from Provence, France, this salad balances zesty heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market with smoky-sweet caramelized onion, briny olives, fresh herbs, and a dash of homemade smoky onion ash. Enjoy with FirePit Red or Loft Red.
Join us at Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery to learn about and view the eclipse. The winery is perfectly positioned along the path of the eclipse with scenic views of the vineyards, open skies and rolling hills in the countryside of Excelsior Springs. Enjoy a glass or bottle of wine as you experience this celestial event.
Total Eclipse Events
Fence Stile hosts two can't-miss events for the total eclipse in August. A FEW TICKETS REMAIN IF YOU ATTEND BOTH EVENTS ($50, includes lunch for for both dates).
Sunday, August 13, Winery is open 11 am to 5 pm.
1-3 pm - Total Solar Eclipse Education Event
Join Jackie Beucher (Vice President, Astronomical Society of Kansas City & Chair, 2017 Eclipse Committee) for an education session on the upcoming Total Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017. Join us for a special Eclipse menu and find out about this historic event! RSVP today.
Eclipse Education Event Menu - Box lunch includes cheese and onion quiche, three-bean salad, and fresh summer berries and grapes.
Monday, August 21, Winery is open 9 am-4 pm.
Total Solar Eclipse Viewing Party
Looking for a fun place to view the Total Solar Eclipse? Reserve space now and experience the eclipse from the vineyard and winery in the scenic countryside. Toast the celestial event with a glass (or bottle) of wine. Includes a box lunch of dishes from our kitchen.
Eclipse Viewing Event Menu - Box lunch includes Eclipse Mini Moon Pies (wine suggestion: Vignoles, KAIscape, or Sweet Enchantment), spinach mushroom cheddar quiche (wine suggestion (Reserve Vidal, Kaiscape, FirePit Red), and Eclipse hummus blend of rosemary garlic white bean hummus and spicy black bean hummus.
Special pricing: RSVP for both events for $50.