The Wine Write


Bradley and amphora

May 23, 2021

Talking Mountain Wine with Bradley Brown of Big Basin Vineyards

It is a winery started out of a passion for entrepreneurship and creativity. Its history has been defined by curiosity and continuous learning.

Bradley Brown moved from Silicon Valley and the world of high technology to tranquility and grapevines in the Santa Cruz Mountains at the turn of this century. He launched the Big Basin Vineyards brand shortly thereafter, receiving early tutelage from an iconic Rhône Ranger, John Alban. Over the past two decades Bradley has tweaked the wine style to conform with the preferences of his palate. He and his team have not hesitated to modify their winemaking practices to hit that style profile.

These days Big Basin Vineyards is dialed in to making cool climate, ocean influenced, mountain grown wine both from their estate property in the Santa Cruz Mountains and from iconic Gabilan Mountain vineyards like Coastview, Wirz, and Rodnick Farm. Picking at phenolic ripeness, minimal intervention winemaking, whole cluster fermentation, and neutral oak influence are keys in the cellar. The goal is to get out of the way and let those special vineyards shine. It’s more of an Old World approach.

While Big Basin Vineyards and other stalwart wineries like Ridge, Mount Eden, Rhys, Windy Oaks, and others continue to reap recognition for the Santa Cruz Mountains, it isn’t always an easy road. 2020 dealt some especially hard blows to Bradley Brown. An August wildfire tore through the vineyard. While the winery was spared, the home he had spent years designing and building was consumed. Parts of the vineyard were scorched. Other mountain wineries had similarly depressing fates.

We caught up with Bradley in early April. His mood was one of optimism. Signs of rebirth are present in the vineyard. Vaccinations are being dispensed to thwart the pandemic. He sees light at the end of the tunnel. His story is as thought provoking as his wines. Enjoy our conversation. -Randy Smith, The Wine Write
Read the full article here.