"On every barrel-intensive winemaker's list of things I can't live without." - Wine Business Monthly
Don gave up a position working with exotic metals in the space industry for the country life when he and Gwen moved to San Luis Obispo in 1975. Back then there wasn’t much demand for his technical skills locally so he spent the next few years working out of town. After their first child was born in 1979, they decided to put Don’s expertise with stainless steel to use locally and founded Bulldog Welding and Manufacturing. The fledging wineries in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties were their focus.
Don’s reputation for quality craftsmanship and innovation grew while working with local winemakers. He specialized in custom design or redesigning existing equipment and processing systems so winemakers could handle grapes or wine as they desired. The Othmans most significant contribution to the wine world is Don’s 1986 invention of The Bulldog Pup, a gas pressure racking wand. The Pup is used instead of a pump when moving wine in or out of barrels or other vessels, achieving exceptionally clean yet gentle rackings.
The quality of California Pinot Noir has risen significantly since the late eighties. Improved farming practices have been key in producing much higher quality grapes. The Bulldog Pup has been key in retaining wine quality when taking the wine to the bottle. Winemakers discovered when using a pump to move Pinot Noir out of barrels, oxygen and agitation were beating up the wine, destroying delicate nuances and complexity. Don addressed the issue by designing a racking wand that utilized an inert gas to pressurize the barrel and gently push the wine without oxygen or agitation. Originally designed for gentle handling of wine, the ultra clean rackings that are achieved with the Pup have made it an indispensable cellar tool. In the past 25 years, thousands have been sold throughout the world.