Moto Doffo: Wine Makers And Motorcycle Racers

Sean Matic
by Sean Matic

Blending Wine Crafting, Motorcycles, And Vintage Racing In The Heart Of SoCal

The Doffo Winery and MotoDoffo Vintage Motorcycle Collection is run and owned by the Doffo family: patriarch Marcelo Doffo, son Damian, and daughters Bridgette and Samantha. The seeds for Doffo Winery were planted in the 1990s inspired by Marcelo’s youth spent growing up on a farm in Pampas, Argentina and a trip in 1994 to Turin, Italy. It matured with the acquisition of an old cattle ranch in Temecula, California.

Marcelo takes his motorcycle restoration and racing as seriously as his wine making.
The family that races together stays together. Father Marcelo, daughter Bridgette, and son Damian preparing to race the CB160 and GP200 classes at AHRMA.

Nestled in the hills at the north end of Temecula’s vineyard row, Doffo is a boutique winery with limited production runs and select varietals. In contrast to the quaint size of the vineyard, the public space taproom is quite large and airy, and the visitor is instantly struck by the sheer number of immaculately restored motorcycles and race bikes on display, not to mention a variety of dune buggies, trophy trucks, and race bikes from the Baja 500 parked outside the taproom. Unlike a typical vineyard tasting room, the taproom is a bustling social hub with a large number of wine club members as well general public enjoying live music, race screening on the big screen, craft beer, brick oven pizza, and traditional Argentinian empanadas. The minute you walk in you’re struck with a sense of community. The vibe is warm, welcoming, accessible, and feels like family – which is just what Doffo is – a family-owned and operated vineyard that extends the family welcome to its guests and motorcycle riding, restoring, and racing brothers and sisters.

Damian Doffo. The passion for two-wheeled race craft runs as deep as the love of wine crafting. Clearly, the grape doesn’t fall far from the vine in the Doffo family.
Damian heading out for the GP250 race on his 1966 Honda CB175 at Sonoma raceway.

Warmly welcomed on my arrival by siblings Samantha and Damian, I know immediately that the family is not elitist wine connoisseur but rugged, earthy, genuine, down and dirty dirt bike/road race folk. The family and the vineyard benefits from a unique and charming marriage of Argentinian and SoCal cultures.

Family day at the AHRMA Willow Springs Raceway Moto Classica Event.

The genesis for the MotoDoffo Vintage Motorcycle Collection stemmed from Marcelo’s youth on the farm in Pampas where he fell in love with imported European motorcycles. He honed his skill as restorer by running an auto body shop with his brother Jorge. With the purchase of the ranch, which came complete with an old barn style schoolhouse, Marcelo had the opportunity to express his love of motorcycle restoration. The rest, as they say, is vintage history. Fast forward to today, and Doffo Winery has become a wine lover’s, as well as motorcycle lover’s, destination – one that is often used by motorcycle manufacturers for new model launches, both for its picturesque beauty surrounded by winding back roads, as well as its proximity to the North American corporate offices of the big four Japanese manufacturers.

Doffo Winery also attracts private individuals from near and far looking to sample California wine crafting outside of the more well known and well-worn regions in Central and Northern California. Of course, the other big attraction is the extensive and painstakingly restored motorcycle collection. Additionally, MotoGP weekends have become something of an event unto themselves where the motorcycle community comes together in a social and agricultural setting that would not look out of place in a Valentino Rossi documentary set in the hills of Tavulia.

The Tap Room: the perfect place to ponder life’s big questions and watch Zinfandel and Petite Syrah vines grow between MotoGP races on the big screen.
A 1958 Ducati Elite lovingly restored by Marcelo in his lovingly restored barn/schoolhouse in his lovingly created winery – that’s a lot of love!
1958 Ducati Elite.
Three generations of tradition.
Harvest time. One ton of Zinfandel grapes to go into the Zinfandel wine.
The Southern California sun waking up 15 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Malbec vines.
This is no half-hearted rusty backyard collection. Marcelo takes his motorcycle restoration and display very seriously.
Artwork provided by Makoto Endo. Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and blending done by Marcelo and Damian Doffo.
Daminan, Marcelo, and Samantha demonstrating the usual expression when the subject of wine or motorcycles comes up.
The parking lot outside the museum is full of motorcycles of all types on a typical day at Moto Doffo.
The newly renovated tasting room now open for wine tastings.
From left to right: 2016 Motodoffo Gran Tinto, 2017 Malbec, 2016 Salute, 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve, 2016 Syrah, 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2016 Mistura. Supervision provided by a 1947 Puma Series 2.

Click on the video below for my tour of the vineyard and interview with Samantha Doffo.

Sean Matic
Sean Matic

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2 of 7 comments
  • Old MOron Old MOron on Dec 15, 2019

    Okay, watched the vid. Vey nice. Samantha is a natural hostess. Good on you for letting her talk instead of interrupting with "cute" observations. MO continues to be the best.

  • Barko100 Barko100 on Dec 24, 2019

    Never been there but I sold them a Bridgestone 90 Mountain Trail.