Danny’s daily responsibilities cover the full scope of operations from production to sales, including personnel management, finance and wholesale.
Born in Oxford, England, Danny grew up in Ducklington, a small village with more ducks than people in the West Cotswolds of Oxfordshire. At 9 years old, Danny immigrated to California with his family and settled in the Sonoma Valley in 1994.
Danny grew up surrounded by the magic of Sonoma County. In high school, he pursued aviation and began flying small airplanes above the dramatic landscapes and vineyards. He became fascinated with the vineyard’s topography and beauty from the sky,
“I would fly out to the Pacific Ocean coastline after school and search for the most isolated, interesting vineyards. I knew nothing about wine or viticulture at the time, but admired the vision and fortitude of the growers who had planted at some of the most extreme sites. In short, I began to get curious about why there, with that row orientation and that varietal.”
His aviation passions led him to study Aeronautical Engineering at Cal San Luis Obispo. After starting a few small businesses while attending school, Danny knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur and decided to pursue a degree in Wine Business & Viticulture. In 2005, Danny worked his first harvest at Kenwood Vineyards in Sonoma Valley which solidified his passion and appreciation winemaking. In 2007, Danny won Cal Poly’s Ray Scheer Business Plan competition with entry of “Pure Vino”, an organic wine and martini bar. “I began to really enjoy and understand how successful businesses work, and I knew the wine business was my long term goal.”
After graduating in 2007, Danny began writing business plans for various small businesses in Nicaragua.However, the project lost funding in the recession of 2008 and Danny decided to sell everything he owned and pursue a Wine MBA graduate program at Bordeaux Ecolé de Management in France. The program exposed students to classes at UC Davis, University of South Australia Adelaide & Wine Intelligence, WSET in London, England. In between classes, Danny worked wine harvests and developed his thesis on organic and biodynamic viticulture quality to cost ratios while couch-surfing and living out of camping vans and motorcycles. “During my two years of living out of a backpack, I was fortunate enough to meet some of the most influential winemakers, viticulturists and wine business leaders in the world. They inspired me to respect the patience and process of making fine wine.”
After completing his MBA, Danny partnered with Sonoma natives, Ben Flajnik and Mike Benziger to build Envolve Winery. Capitalizing on a downtown tasting room, an unpretentious wine club and strong mentorship from the Benziger Family, Envolve was a success, attracting a loyal following of millennials. In 2015, Danny, Mike and Ben decided to sell the winery to Valley of the Moon Winery. “This proved to be a boon to Kanzler Family Vineyards as Danny was free to join the company in 2016 as General Manager.” Said founder Steve Kanzler. “We feel very fortunate to have Danny on board. He’s been the consummate professional since he joined and our business and all of us individually have greatly benefited from his energy, enthusiasm, leadership and friendship. We were very nervous taking a non-family member into the business. We couldn’t have done better. He’s been a perfect fit and we all think of him now as a member of the family.”
Danny also holds and has held board of director positions in Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance, Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance, Sonoma Harvest Auction and organized a breast cancer awareness fundraiser called Real Men Drink Pink.