I love to be able to share my work and to see our customer’s reaction to the wines. It brings me instant gratification!
Born in Ithaca, New York, and raised in California, Brandon’s interest in wine originated with his grandparents. One of their favorite pastimes was visiting wineries, hosting tasting parties, and aging collectable bottles of wine. During Brandon’s upbringing he was invited to enjoy some of these rare wines. “I was always mystified and intrigued by the traditions and stories involved with each bottle of wine,” says Brandon.
Brandon began his winemaking career in 2000, having been accepted into the Fermentation Science program at the University of California at Davis. “Originally, I felt like I had found a loophole. That a public university would teach me how to ferment before I was 21 years old,” joked Brandon. Immediately following graduation and eager to put his education to work, Brandon spent three month working for Brancott Winery in Marlborough, New Zealand, learning the intricacies and brilliance of Sauvignon Blanc. “Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand were the first wines that I fell in love with.”
Returning to the States, Brandon was offered the assistant winemaker position at Peachy Canyon Winery in Paso Robles, CA. Here he worked with Zinfandel from some of the most sought after vineyards on the Central Coast, producing many noteworthy and award winning wines. His success at Peachy Canyon brought him to the attention of Dan Goldfield of Dutton Goldfield winery in the Russian River Valley appellation of Sonoma County, where Brandon served as the assistant winemaker. During his four years at Dutton Goldfield, Brandon mastered cool climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, producing complex, balanced, and well-structured wines with profound flavor. His experience producing world-class Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel made Brandon the perfect winemaker for Armida Winery, where he’s been making elegant, complex, single-vineyard wines since 2010. “I joke with people that I got my undergrad degree at Davis, my graduate degree from Peachy Canyon, my PHD from Dutton Goldfield and now I’m working on my lifetime masterpiece at Armida having access to fruit from many iconic, well known vineyards.”
If he’s not making wine you’ll often find Brandon in the tasting room conversing with our friends and customers. “I love to be able to share my work and to see our customer’s reaction to the wines. It brings me instant gratification!” When he isn’t at the winery Brandon enjoys pretending to be a chef and cooking meals for his wife and kids. “I really like to ferment at home. From sourdough starters to sauerkraut, I’ve tried to ferment almost everything,” laughs Brandon. He supplements his passion for winemaking and home cooked meals in his garden, trying to grow perfect tomatoes and basil to accompany his meals. Brandon loves Sonoma County for its stunning vineyards, diverse local food, and long-standing winemaking traditions.