If the Wine Festival really gets your juices flowing this year, why not start a winery of your own right here on Nantucket?
Whether it’s the FAA-approved helipad, the sunken croquet court, or the fully-stocked koi pond, Three Dunes Estate is the toast of Almanack Pond Road. But perhaps the finest feature of this lavish property out in Polpis are two plots of premium organic Cabernet, Merlot and Cab Franc vines that were transported from St. Helena, California and planted around the seven-acre estate. Growing grapes in Nantucket’s sandy soil might seem a daunting proposition, but for Three Dunes’ owner Tyler Olbres it’s the only way to truly savor island living.
“There were many doubters early on,” says Olbres, who also owns Nellcôte Winery in Napa Valley and is returning to this year’s Nantucket Wine Festival as a luminary. “But the mildness of the island and especially the protected micro-climate of Polpis, allowed us to ripen the grapes sufficiently to produce a good wine.” Fending off pesky deer and rabbits, Olbres succeeded in setting deep roots that now yield grapes for a homemade Bordeaux blend. “There is nothing more rewarding than making a wine from vine to bottle,” he says, “especially when extended family is invited to participate in the harvest, crushing and finally bottling the wine.”
Keeping his operation entirely in-house, Olbres installed a sophisticated enology lab, micro-winery, and barrel cellar beneath his estate’s octagonal pool pavilion, which can produce 225 gallons of wine per harvest. His 880 vines are watered by a self-regulating irrigation system and require little more manpower than his extended family to pick for harvest.
Yet despite fully enjoying the fruits of his labors each season, Olbres has decided to put his Three Dunes Estate on the market this spring — vines and all. “It has been a bittersweet decision to sell Three Dunes, as our family has thoroughly enjoyed every single day there,” he explained. “However, it is time to let another person or family treasure the home, and make their own memories here.”
If your idea of memory making doesn’t include donning the jeans of a gentleman farmer, the whole winemaking operation at Three Dunes can be easily outsourced, and there are plenty of other unique features to the property to relish. Before even stepping foot in the 4,500-square-foot home, one marvels at Three Dunes’ ornate, award-winning gardens, sections of which have been documented by the Smithsonian Institute. After purchasing the property, Olbres put his own spin on the gardens by converting them to a “more elegant French parterre style.” This French flair is complemented by Asian influences seen in the koi pond that wraps around the back half of the main house like a moat and comes complete with a Japanese bridge. Add a pool, sprawling views of the Windswept Bogs, and 500 acres of conservation land that the property abuts, and Three Dunes is truly a world apart. “The most unique aspect of the estate cannot easily be put into words,” says Olbres. “It’s a feeling of calm and serenity.” Indeed, come the hustle and bustle of summer on Nantucket, we can all toast to a little more calm and serenity.
A Taste of Nellcôte
Central to Tyler Olbres’s motivation for selling his Three Dunes Estate is to focus more on Nellcôte Winery in Napa Valley. “We craft limited production Cabernet Sauvignons of distinction from legendary Napa Valley vineyards,” says Olbres. “Crafted by master winemaker Phillip Corallo-Titus and inspired by a passion for the very best, Nellcôte makes wines for the life well lived.” At this year’s Nantucket Wine Festival, Olbres will be showcasing two distinct styles of wine from his Cabernet program: the 500 Chevaux, a 100% Cabernet; and the Rallye 76, a Cabernet blend enhanced with Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec. “Of course we will also have on hand our unique rosé, which has been a sensation at the festival since its introduction in 2014.”