Screaming Chief wines are produced by Belle Marie Winery, a family-run, boutique operation that wis one of San Diego's most respected local producers. The winery is a stone's throw from JD Vineyard, making it easy to collaborate throughout the year, particularly in the critical weeks before harvest.
Belle Marie Winery was founded by Mick and Mary Dragoo in 2000. Mick, a world renowned oral-maxillofacial surgeon, began making wine professionally in 1980, and opened Belle Marie in April 2000, specializing in blended red wines but producing more than 20 different wines each year in a wide variety of styles. Mick's protégé, Jeff Lazenby, learned to appreciate wine while attending UC Santa Barbara in the 1980's. Shortly after Belle Marie opened, Lazenby asked Dragoo to teach him more about making wine. They began meeting regularly, and although their conversations started with winemaking, they soon grew to encompass all aspects of the winery operation. With shared philosophies toward life and mutual passions for hard work and creative endeavors, a friendship blossomed, and Lazenby soon became part of the now extended family business.
When Chief Bowman visited Belle Marie to ask about producing wines from his newly planted vineyard, the winemakers were intrigued. They visited the vineyard and were impressed with both the care of the vines and with Bowman's obvious passion toward farming the best possible fruit that the land could produce. They agreed to collaborate on developing the Screaming Chief wine. The first vintage, christened the "1st Alarm," was harvested in 2010.
Mick Dragoo passed away suddenly and unexpectedly but peacefully in 2015. Today Jeff Lazenby is the sole winemaker for Screaming Chief and Belle Marie, yet the spirit of Mick Dragoo is a part of every bottle that is produced.