John Dyson Plants His Millionth Grape Vine


John Dyson started planting grapes, about 500, on an acre in 1979 in Millbrook, NY. He was a pioneer in the true European varieties like Chardonnay in the Hudson Valley. This first experiment, inspired by the first pioneer in New York State, Dr. Konstantin Frank, has grown in the intervening 38 years to today June 2, 2017 when he planted his one millionth grape vine in Millbrook Vineyards and Winery completing a 1000 acres of vineyards.

The vineyards are located in Millbrook, NY, Tuscany, Italy and both the Sonoma County region called Russian River and in the Central Coast of California near Hollister. John also runs Millbrook Winery, Villa Pillo winery in Tuscany and Williams Selyem winery in Healdsburg, CA. Total production is about 55,000 cases per year of 7 varietals.

Working with experts at Cornell University and UC Davis, John has experimented with rootstocks, varieties and even clones of varieties to provide excellent grapes for his winemakers. He developed with Dr. Richard Smart the innovative Smart Dyson trellis system used all over the world.

John’s education at Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is what he credits with this successful formula. He is married to Kathe Dyson and they have 2 daughters and 5 grandchildren. And one million grapevines!

About Williams Selyem

Williams Selyem Winery was founded in 1979 by winemaking hobbyists Ed Selyem and Burt Williams in a garage in Forestville, California. In less than two decades, the winery achieved cult-status and garnered international acclaim for their Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and Zinfandels. Today, John and Kathe Dyson, who purchased the winery in 1998, carry on the passion for winemaking without compromise. While nearly all of Williams Selyem’s wines are sold through the winery’s direct consumer mailing list, a limited number of cases are released each year to a select group of the country’s finest restaurants.