What’s On My Desk: Malibu Winemaker Elliott Dolin


There’s an ethereal halo of positivity surrounding Elliott Dolin that immediately sets one at ease, which translates into the easy drinkability of his wines. Dolin is the proprietor of Dolin Estate Wine, a boutique winery that has emerged as one of the leading producers on the Malibu coast. Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Northern New Jersey, Dolin spent much of his childhood in and around metropolitan Manhattan, where he developed a passion for music that eventually led to playing with the original Manhattan Transfer. He was approached by Bruce Springsteen, but turned The Boss down to volunteer in Israel during the Yom Kippur War. When he returned to the U.S. in 1974, he moved to Nashville and spent years on tour with Grammy Award-winning country artist Donna Fargo. He also moved to Sweden to work with CBS Records. He spent his money wisely and increased his finances by investing in real estate before moving to California in 1983, where he became a realtor.  Not the most natural path for a one-day wine label owner! He fell in love and married, and while he and his wife, Lynn, were restoring their Malibu estate, he recognized the opportunity to indulge his passion for wine and grow Chardonnay vines. The rest is history. Here, this career chameleon (who also happens to be a huge gearhead: the cars in his collection include a 1953 Siata 208S Spider, a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gull Wing,” a 1947 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet, a 1930 Cadillac V-16, a 1957 Ferrari 250 GT and a 1963 Corvette “split-window” Coupe) shares a peek at his desktop essentials.
Dolin Desk

Family: My wife Lynn and our Maltese dogs are at the center of my daily life. I keep a photo of Lynn on my desk along with photos of our dogs. We recently added a fourth puppy named Sadie to our family, and she has quickly made herself at home with Enzo, Alfie and Ruby.

Music: The photo of me with Brenda Lee sits on my desk as a reminder of my former career in music as a professional bass player. I started out playing in the New York club scene and the “Jersey Shore.” After a stint with the original Manhattan Transfer, I was inspired to move to Nashville where I toured with a number of legendary artists such as Ray Price and Brenda Lee.  These were historic days, as we played alongside the greatest names in country music- Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Mel Tillis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Emmylou Harris, etc.

Automobilia: I keep a few mementos on my desk as an ode to my passion for restoring vintage automobiles. One is a miniature model of our 1953 Siata 208S Spider, a rare and exotic Italian sports car that we meticulously restored. Next to the Siata model is a replica of “The Flying Lady,” the trademark hood ornament that adorned our 1930 Cadillac V-16 Berline.  We’ve displayed our automobiles at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and won class awards each time, including a coveted “1st in Class” awarded to the Siata in 2008 .  My wife and I have collected several other stunning vehicles over the years including a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gull Wing,” a 1947 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet, a 1957 Ferrari 250 GT and a 1963 Corvette “split-window” coupe.

Winemaking: We retain a very talented winemaker to oversee the production of our wines, so I never felt the need to seek formal training as a winemaker. I keep a copy of The Winemaker’s Answer Book on my desk as an invaluable “go to” reference book. It really comes in handy when there is something that I do not understand about the winemaking process.

Real Estate: When I embarked upon my real estate career, the first thing I did was to take a class in real estate investment analysis at UCLA. And the first tool that I purchased was my HP 12C financial calculator. It has been with me for many, many years and I use it on a daily basis.