Don Quixote Distillery & Winery
About
Us
Fate is a funny thing:  As a Ph.D.
Engineer at the world's foremost research laboratory, Ron
started experimenting in his free time with various wine
fermentation and spirits distillation techniques.  He built
his first Still at 19 when he was a freshman in college.  His
solar powered ethonol/methanol fuel designed Still was a
generation ahead of what is currently in vogue.
Unfortunately, Ron was unable to convince campus
security that his dormitory Still was "
Purely for research."  
As his confiscated Still was hauled away a security guard
commented, "you can buy your booze like the rest of
us."   

In 1999 while on a trip to the Ukraine, Ron met his future
wife Olha, the most beautiful and wonderful woman he's
ever known.  They fell in love instantly and decided to get
married a short time later.  It was only after they were
married that Ron discovered Olha shared his passion for
wine and spirits creation.  
Ron & Olha Dolin
how it all begins
What Makes Don Quixote Unique & Special
    From our high altitude location, to the glacial aquifer that supplies our
    water, to the way we distill and age, our artisan craftsmanship,
    attention to detail, and use of high quality fruits and grains make Don
    Quixote products a rare treat for those who appreciate the charm,
    character and quality found only in things hand made in the traditions
    of old world master distillers and vintners.  
The Right Tool for the Job
    Don Quixote Distillery Hand Crafts Each of its Stills for both our
    environment and the spirit being produced

    Unlike most craft distillers who purchase a turn-key Still from a mass
    producers who designs his still generally make all types of spirits in all
    types of environments, each Don Quixote Still is engineered to be
    optimal for the product being produced and to operate at high elevation
    in a dry climate.  

    We have a whiskey (pot) still specially designed to make American
    style whiskey.  Our process not only improves on legendary American
    still designs, it utilizes a Moonshine era doubler/thumber, worm, and a
    natural convection process to slow chill the ethanol vapor back to a
    liquid.  We engineered a Vodka (reflux) still with an optimal vapor rise
    to diameter ratio to produce our gentle vodkas and a copper Brandy
    (alembic) still to make our brandies, Pisco, and grappas.  

    As anyone who works with their hands and builds things can attest, to
    make things right you need the right tool for each job.  Just as you
    would never use a pipe wrench to tighten a lag screw, you don't want to
    use an Alembic Still to make whiskey or a Reflux Still to make brandy,
    yet, that is a growing trend in American craft distilling.

    To make the best product you need a Still designed to optimize the
    manufacturing environment.  You need the still constructed from the
    proper materials, and you need to operate the Still in a manner
    conducive to the the end product you are attempting to produce.  At Don
    Quixote our commitment to these details is what sets our spirits apart.
High Altitude Distilling:  At sea level water boils at 212 deg F and
    alcohol boils at 193 F.  Don Quixote Distillery is located in New Mexico’s
    magical Jemez Mountains at 7000’ where alcohol boils at 180 F.  Our
    spirits cook off at a lower temperature eliminating the "burnt" smell and
    taste found in most spirits.  We also distill in an ambient pressure
    environment which allows lighter vapors to slowly rise in the still.  The
    combination of altitude and pressure results in soft smooth spirits
    possessing a subtle hint of sweetness.
Small Batch Fermenting:  We ferment our grapes and grains in small
    batches allowing us to tailor each process for maximum flavor and
    individual character.  

Small Batch Distilling: We distill in carefully regulated temperature
    and pressure environments in tune with the individual uniqueness of
    each process run.  Our goal is maximize taste, texture and aroma while
    minimizing unwanted properties such as essential oils.
Radiant Heating:  We heat our stills using radiant heat.  This creates
    slow even heat distribution.  Our steam coil method allows accurate
    control of still temperatures, first to cook of unpleasant methanol, and
    second to carry the desired ethanol away on light flavor molecules
    thereby yielding smoother spirits of lighter alcohol.
Convection Heating:  We create the convention heating
    environment used by French Cognac producers by operating our
    Alembic stills within a reflective oven.  This ensures even heat distribute
    with negligible gradient.  
Slow Chilling:  Research has shown that a slow even chilling process
    creates more flavorful spirits with a softer texture  We use ambient
    water to softly return hot spirit vapors back to their liquid state.
American Oak vs. French Barrels:  We age our Bourbon and Rye
    Whiskey in American oak and our wines, Ports, and brandies in French
    Oak.
Green Manufacturing: Our goal is to be as earth friendly as
    possible.  We could do things easier, faster, and cheaper using other
    methods or products but we feel obligated to hold ourselves to the
    same unyielding high standards as we hold our products.  

    We malt our grains to grow enzymes for starch conversion.  We use
    organic grains when possible and clean our equipment with citric acid
    solutions to both keep industrial chemicals away from product and to
    minimize our use of hazardous chemicals.

    We never modify our spirits after distillation with coloring, flavoring, or
    texturizing.  We are committed to providing you with what God and
    nature provided us.

    We cool our spirits with naturally chilled water and preheat our wines
    prior to distilling using a passive solar system.  We heat our facilities
    using recaptured heat from just distilled wash.

    Whether making grappa from pomace, bedding our fields with
    compost, or feeding deer, elk and area livestock with our post-
    fermented grains, we strive to derive maximal utility from the gifts
    nature has provided.  
Dolin Distillery Incorporated (TM), 236 Rio Bravo, Los Alamos, NM 87544  - (505) 695-0817.
Doing business as Don Quixote Distillery & Winery (TM), Spirit of Santa Fe (TM) spirits, Don Quixote
Distillery (TM), Don Quixote Winery (TM), Manhattan Project Wines (TM), and City Different Wines (TM).
Olha grew up in a family of distillers learning from her Grandfather and father
the ancient Eastern European secrets to fine vodka and brandy production.  
After the fall of the Soviet Union Olha's father Viktor, who was a merchant ship
Captain used his special vodka to entice sailors to join his voyages.  In those
hard times Viktor could not pay his crew so in order to man his ship he had to
offer the best food and Vodka on all of the Deimper.

Ron's technical curiosity, merged with Olha's inherited knowledge and passion
for spirits production, formed the backbone of what has become Don Quixote
Distillery.  Together they smuggled their first still out of Ukraine and their first
brandies were made from wines Ron had made over the years while
experimenting.  With the exception of almost starting their home on fire during
their first spirits run their humble beginnings laid the ground work for the full
up distillery they have today.

Ron designs, fabricates, and builds all the stills used at Don Quixote.  The first
still designed and built by Ron was a five gallon copper alembic pot still
engineered to maximize the advantages of distilling at 7500 feet above sea
level.  In the ensuing years  Ron's quest for perfection has led him to
continually experiment and design newer improved stills.  He is currently on
his seventh design generation and believes his has finally optimized his
design to blend production efficiency with smooth spirit taste and delicate
aroma.  The trademark characteristics of all Don Quixote stills are their gentle
even heating that renders soft, slightly sweet spirits with pleasantly balanced
aromas.