Brandt Family Winery, Upland – San Antonio Heights
Brian and Camille Brandt grow and produce premium, handcrafted wines while raising their five daughters and son.
A true vintner at heart, Brandt contracted the wine bug about 10 years ago. He is keen, focused and possesses great passion for the grape.
“My first taste of the wine business began in 1998, when my father-in-law Fred Paciocco and I started Pacific Wine Merchants in downtown Upland,” said a smiling Brandt. “In 1999, Camille and I planted approximately 400 vines on one acre at our home. I started growing grapes as an experiment.” About the same time the vines went in, the young Uplander enrolled in home winemaking and small vineyard management courses at UC Riverside. He read every book he could find about winemaking and wine technology, and filled binders with his notes on vinification techniques.
An attorney by profession, Brandt fermented his first juice from Zinfandel grapes grown in the Cucamonga Valley. All of the wines from that first harvest went on to win wine competitions.
Brandt Family Winery started producing its first commercial wines in 2002.
“We made five different wines in our garage that year, including two Rancho Cucamonga grown Zinfandels,” Brandt recalled. “We also produced a Sangiovese, a Grenache from the Hofer Ranch in Ontario, as well as importing Petite Sirah grapes from the Lodi area.” The wines are produced, aged and bottled on site in a beautiful new cellar building adjacent to the family’s home.
That’s where many new oak wine barrels and modern winemaking equipment are proudly on display. Annual production is 500 cases (6,000 bottles).
Brandt understands that fine winemaking begins in the vineyard. Over the past five years BFW has released several varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon from Temecula Valley vines, Syrah from Paso Robles, and Syrah from Fess Parker’s Rodney’s and Camp Four vineyards in Santa Barbara.
“I am constantly on the lookout for the highest quality grapes possible, especially from up-and-coming regions,” he said.
Visit www.brandtwine.com or call Pacific Wine Merchants at 909-946-6782 for upcoming releases. Ask about Brandt Family Winery Grenache Noir and new Syrah releases.
Gino L. Filippi can be reached at Ginoffvine@aol.com