The name Dunstan comes from a lucky horseshoe.  Durell Vineyard.

Protection & Luck

You've seen a horseshoe hanging above a doorway—a symbol of protection and luck.

According to 10th century legend, a blacksmith named Dunstan was visited by the Devil to have his shoes reset. While fitting the shoes, Dunstan quicked the Devil who implored for the shoe to be removed. Dunstan agreed, but only after the Devil promised never to enter a dwelling with a horseshoe hanging above the door.

When we were first planting the Ranch House Block at Durell, a very large horseshoe was unearthed. Rusted and obviously very old, it served as the inspiration for the name of our new wine.

Read more about Dunstan on Wikipedia.


Ellie Phipps Price purchased the Durell Vineyard in 1998 from Ed Durell. Durell, a San Francisco food broker, acquired the land in 1977 with the intent of turning it into a cattle ranch, but began planting grapes instead.

After hiring vineyard manager Steve Hill, the pair focused exclusively on growing premium wine grapes, which they began selling to Sonoma County wineries in 1982.

Today there are over 20 top-tier wineries producing Durell Vineyard designate wines including Chasseur, Chateau St. Jean, Kistler, and Auteur.

In 2005, Ellie replanted the 8 1/2 acre Ranch House Block at Durell. This block is dedicated exclusively to Dunstan Wines, producing only a few hundred cases of premium Durell Vineyard wine each year.

Horse at Durell Vineyard
Durell Vineyard owner Ellie Price and Chris Towt

Ellie Phipps Price

Ellie is a California native with a love for fine wines. She studied English literature at UC Berkeley, then Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis.

A mother of two children, she is an avid equestrian and active supporter of animal welfare and environmental preservation initiatives. As a steward of the historic Durell Vineyard, Ellie embraces farming practices that are respectful of the land, water, and animal life there as well as those that maintain natural balances throughout the property.

Chris Towt

Chris began working with Durell Vineyard in 2006 and partnered with Ellie in the launch of Dunstan Wines in 2008, with a focus on direct-to-consumer and national sales. After completing the Winemaker's certificate course at UC Davis, he has worked closely with winemaker Kenneth Juhasz to craft exceptional wines for Dunstan.

Chris’ love of wine and technology joined together in 2011 with the launch of VineSpring, which provides affordable eCommerce solutions for wineries. DunstanWines.com runs on the VineSpring platform.