The Broc Cellars story begins with a move from Nebraska to California. Chris Brockway grew up in Omaha and felt drawn to wine. Specifically spicy, brambly Zinfandels from California, and took a leap to move out West. He received an oenology degree from Fresno State and began making his first wine in 2002 – it was just one barrel. The following year he made three barrels, and by 2004 had 14 barrels of wine to call his own. Broc Cellars was born and had its first official release in 2006. At the time, the mentality surrounding California wines was “bigger is better”. Chris personally felt the wines to be too big, too much alcohol, too much everything. He set out to do something else. In 2008 he moved to his first winery space in Berkeley, which was originally known as Grape Leaf Cellars, located only one block away from where they are now. This is where Broc found its way.
“Our goal in making wine is to bring out the natural expression of the grape. We start by using only native fermentations, a process that means we only use native yeasts and bacteria that exist on the grapes in order to make wine. We pick grapes early while they are still healthy and less desiccated. This allows for an easier fermentation without the need to add yeast because you don’t have copious amounts of sugar. We also pick the grapes early for good acidity. We don’t add anything – this includes nutrients, yeast, bacteria, enzymes, tannins or other popular fermentation agents. Sulphur is a naturally occurring element in all wine and the amount found can vary. We add little to no sulphur, depending on the wine and style.”
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