The Passing of my Father~ Dale R. Goode


Dale Richard Goode, 79,
pioneer winegrower in Sonoma County, California dies.

Dale R. Goode, a pioneer in the wine industry and respected viticulture consultant in Sonoma County died peacefully on September 23 in Healdsburg, California. He was 79 years old and had been a Sonoma County resident for 48 years.

Dale was born in Taft, California, Kern County to parents Marjorie and Malcolm Goode. Historically, Dale’s family in the US dates back to 1650 and in California since 1848.

Dale graduated from Bakersfield High, where he met his sweetheart, Nydia Jeppi during his sophomore year. After their wedding in 1954, Dale attended and graduated from the University of California at Davis in Agriculture. This was in the early years of the university’s viticulture program. Upon graduation Dale and Nydia returned to their roots in Bakersfield and Delano where Dale’s passionate love of growing grapes took root. Over the next seven years he planted over a thousand acres of vineyards in the San Joaquin Valley. When on a visit to Davis and the Napa Valley, he was told by a friend of a job opportunity in Sonoma County.

In 1965 Dale became the vineyard manager for Russ Green and Harry Wetzel in the Alexander Valley. He moved his young family to Healdsburg and was instrumental in the establishment of the vineyards that were to become Alexander Valley Vineyards & Winery and Hoot Owl Creek Vineyards & Winery. He also assisted Russ Green in the reestablishment of Simi Winery. He was the first grower in the Alexander Valley to use trellising for vines and to introduce cordon pruning to replace the old head-trained pruning method.

As a young man, Dale was committed to community service and spent many of his summers fighting wild land fires. Years later, Dale was involved in organizing a volunteer fire department in the Alexander Valley, which eventually joined with the Geyserville Fire District. While out on a fire call on Friday November 26, 1976 in the Knights Valley, a freak windstorm crashed a fir tree on the fire truck driven by Dale, leaving him a paraplegic for the remainder of his life.

But the enormity of this injury did not stop him. Despite his disability and confined to a wheelchair, he continued to manage the vineyards, expand his activities as well as his service to his community. His customized van became his transportation to the world and he never looked back.

In 1980 Dale joined together with the Murphy family and began Murphy-Goode Vineyards. In 1985, Dale and Tim Murphy (deceased 2001) along with David Ready (deceased 2010) joined together to start the legendary Murphy-Goode Winery. He often said that every workday was never work to him. He so loved his job, the vineyards, the seasons, and being in his community with family and his many friends.

Dale was a member of the Alexander Valley Association, a founding member of the Alexander Valley Winegrowers, a member of Sonoma County Winegrowers, a trustee of the Alexander Valley School Board, and a member of the Santa Rosa Junior College's viticulture advisory committee. Dale was the recipient of numerous business and community awards including, among others, the Sonoma County Grape Growers' Viticulture Award of Excellence and the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce Leadership in Agriculture Award. Dale was especially proud when presented by the Healdsburg Chapter of the Business & Professional Women’s National Organization with the Golden Nike Award for providing an environment for working mothers. He was a life-long student of US and local history, loved a good western, couldn’t miss a baseball game, and enjoyed eating out at his favorite local restaurants.

In his last days, Dale was cared for by a loving circle of family and close friends. He is survived by his wife Nydia (Jeppi), daughters Lea Goode-Harris and Mimi Goode, grandson Orin Harris, brother Lee (Sue) Goode of San Juan Capistrano, and his beloved brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

In lieu of flowers remembrances can be made to the Healdsburg Museum, Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation for use in Viticulture & Oenology Departments, and the Alexander Valley Ladies Aid Society Scholarship Fund.

A Celebration of Dale’s life will take place on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at the Cyrus Alexander home at Alexander Valley Vineyards in Healdsburg, California at 8640 Hwy. 128, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. For further information please visit the Caringbridge Website:

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Fred Young Funeral Home, Cloverdale, CA (707) 894-2540.

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