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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Oakland Tribune Article

Jessica Yadegaran of the Oakland Tribune wrote an excellent article about the Oakland (and Berkeley) wine scene. The oce:

The Naturalists

-Winemakers: Jared and Tracey Brandt, A Donkey and Goat, Berkeley.

-What they make: About 1,300 cases of Rhone varietals and chardonnay.

-Old World education: The Brandts left their tech jobs in 2001 and headed to France to study winemaking for a year under Eric Texier, a Rhone and Macon area winemaker. A few classes at UC Davis filled in the blanks.

-Crushpad co-founder: Upon their return, Tracey and her former colleague Michael Brill launched Crushpad, a San Francisco custom crush facility. She and Jared made wine there before launching A Donkey and Goat in 2004.

-That name: In Cote Rotie, donkeys are used for organic weed control. After a long day in the vineyard, they become noticeably cranky. So winemakers bring in goats at night to keep them company and soothe them. According to the Brandts, the pairing dates back to 345 A.D.

-Their pairing: In many husband-and-wife winemaking teams the women focus on the books and marketing side of operating a winery, but Tracey is adamant about sharing the dirty work with Jared.

-Texier tutelage: In the Rhone, the Brandts followed the principles of biodynamic and traditional farming, and have incorporated some of these older and sustainable practices into their winemaking.

-Happy feet: Like famous Burgundian wineries, the Brandts practice pigeage a pied, or foot stomping. "We sterilize the feet first," Jared says.

-Why the East Bay: "Because we can afford to do what we want to do," Jared says. "We can take more risks. If we don't like the results we don't sell the wine."


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