Hidden Gem: Temecula's MotoDoffo and Winery
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
I didn't expect much when I heard Honda had arranged for a wine tasting. Imagine my surprise when I found out this is where the wine tasting took place, inside the barrel room of Temecula's Doffo Winery.
From rare scooters to obscure motorcycles to prized Ducatis, the MotoDoffo collection features a vast variety of bikes and memorabilia.
American Honda's Jon Seidel (l) and MotoDoffo's Damian Doffo hold up a bottle Doffo Winery did to celebrate the 2014 Valkyrie press launch.
I shared this as part of a sidebar to the 2014 Honda Valkyrie First Ride article, but thought it worthy of further mention beyond a sidebar so I added a little more information.
As part of the press launch of the 2014 Valkyrie, Honda had arranged a wine tasting at a local Temecula, California winery. Doffo Winery
was just a few miles from Ponte Vineyard Inn, where we were staying for the launch. Little did we know what a treat Honda had in store.
Because spread out around the grounds of Doffo Winery is a wonderful collection of vintage motorcycles and scooters, around 150 total and growing. They’re everywhere, in garages and barrel rooms. They line walkways and rafters, many of the marques unfamiliar to the layman. A motorcyclist won’t know where to look first.
You see, Doffo patriarch Marcelo and his son Damian are huge enthusiasts. The two can often be found racing in the AHRMA series when they’re not attending to the winery. Even when they are, they can often be found in the garage tinkering on the latest bike they picked up at auction or on eBay. They have one of the most diverse personal collections of Ducatis on the West Coast, superbikes ranging from a 1985 Ducati MHR 1000cc to a 2007 Ducati 1098, many signed by racers or Ducati brass. One of my favorites was a 1959 Ducati 175 Sport with its wonderful “jelly mold” tank. The collection includes the rare and obscure, vehicles like a 1947 Cucciolo/Zopoli 48cc scooter and a 1947 Gilera Saturno 500cc. Honda was well represented as well, from modern sportbikes to an immaculate 1961 305cc Saturn Dream. Oh yeah, they make a pretty mean wine too, with the Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 receiving particular praise. And be sure to grab a jar of the chimichurri sauce Damian’s mom makes.
The MotoDoffo collection is a true gem. Marcelo may have initially set out to acquire all those wonderful motorcycles and scooters he saw passing through his Argentinian village growing up, but what started as a pastime has grown into a deep passion that he’s willing to share in the form of MotoDoffo.
The public is invited to check out the motorcycles for free, but they’re only open on Thursday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon. If you’re a gearhead and happen to be in the Temecula area, we highly suggest you pay the Doffos a visit.
Here’s Marcelo’s story courtesy of the MotoDoffo website
My name is Marcelo Doffo and I was born in a raised in a small farming community in central Argentina. Back then, a horse carriage or a vintage car was the primary mode of transportation. Motorcycles were a luxury at the time. Old bikes from the early ‘40s and ‘50s were available, but not many people used them as transportation on a regular basis.
It all started early in my life, when my cousin showed up in a fairly modern motorcycle for it's time. Around the same time, there was a sudden explosion of motorcycles being imported from Italy or made in Argentina that were available to the public at an affordable price. In our small town, we had more than three places where we could buy motorcycles. Even the local general store had them for sale. Of course, there was only one way to know which bike was better or faster. We raced them.
Locals would gather on any Sunday on a dirt track that my uncle made. Then there she was, a 175 cc Ducati Sport. It arrived at the race track as a display bike. My other uncle who worked at the dealership was showing it to potential buyers. The colors, all the chrome pieces and the sound was nothing compared to what we were used to seeing. I can close my eyes and hear it. Since that day, my heart and soul have been one with Ducati.
Eventually, our family purchased our first motorcycle form my uncle's dealership, a Vicentina 125cc. It was used to take me and my brother Jorge to and from school. We had it until I enrolled in the Army. The bike was made for someone who need a bit of experience in welding because the frame was very fragile. I grew up going to local dances and dates in my Vicentina. We grew up together. It was part of our family.
More than forty years later, I would like to share this humble collection of motorcycles with you. They may not have much value as unique collector pieces, but they are priceless to me since many of them are attached to my heart.
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