After 17 years in the injection molding business of Toronto, David Cohen, Owner/Winemaker of Moondance Cellars, loaded his 1965 blown candy brandy-wine Corvette on a trailer, and headed West. He found himself in San Diego where he put his creative skills to use renovating, and then selling a few of the canyon’s charming, yet neglected homes. It wasn’t long before he was headed north for a visit with a cousin in wine country, and a chance to drive the spectacular roads of Sonoma County’s coast, and vineyards. The tires of the Corvette were barely warm when David realized that Northern California was a place, where his dreams could come true.
Off to Cousin Bruce’s place at BR Cohn Winery, sped David, where he stayed long enough to be offered the jobs of supervising the building of the new winery, and managing the ranch. It was there that David honed his skills in winemaking and, vineyard management. His mentors were the best of the Sonoma Valley: Winemakers Helen Turley, and the late John Speed of Saint Francis Winery recognized David’s enthusiasm and creativity. Each generously shared her/his knowledge. And, they patiently led David to find his own winemaking style.
To date, 16 years after David started Moondance Cellars, it has achieved much label recognition throughout the United States. And, it’s acclaimed wines have been awarded in some of the most prestigious wine competitions, of the world.
David, and his wife Priscilla, now live in an idyllic valley in the West County hills of Sonoma, sharing their home and winery with a menagerie of pets.
The old adage, “When in Rome…” applies to how Priscilla Cohen has spent most of her adult life. “Rome” has been a village in New Hampshire, where she represented the town of Hanover, on a board establishing guidelines for the licensing of childcare facilities in the State of New Hampshire, while her business skills were building as she crept up the merchandising ladder of a century old Dartmouth outfitter.
Too much work away from the kids, and too little time to enjoy them. Is that a ski hill up there? “P” slid mittens on the kid’s hands, slapped skis on their feet, and joined the National Ski School Instructors Association. The following year, as the Director of the Children’s Ski School, she watched her own children race down moguls, as she managed the instruction of up to 60 others on the slopes.
After a few frigid seasons, the California sunshine was looking pretty good. As a naturalist at heart, it wasn’t long before Priscilla was exploring the mountain trails of California on horseback, and, as a docent for the Audubon Canyon Ranch, leading school children on educational hikes in the wine country of Sonoma Valley.
A girl has to earn a living. And, there was an opening at Tommy Smothers’ winery just down the road. After learning as much about the hospitality end of the wine business, P joined the administrative staff. Soon she was managing the new Wine Room co-op tasting room.
There’s more than one way to the top. And as good luck would have it, P fell in love with, and then married her new boss! Now as co-owner of Cohen Wines LLC, Priscilla and David Cohen share what they consider to be a near idyllic lifestyle as vintners and friends to their dogs, cats, horses, and birds in the rural west Sonoma County coastal hills.