My parents Jon and Jan Brosseau fell in love with the idea of a French lifestyle, surrounded by vineyards. They read wine books, joined wine tasting groups, and researched soils maps for limestone. Overlaying this research and drawing a two hour circle from their home in Los Altos narrowed down the opportunities. Eventually, their explorations led them to a rustic outpost near the West Pinnacles in Monterey County – now called the Chalone Appellation. It was there they fell in love with the wines of Richard Graff, who was making a name for himself on the mountainside. Jon Brosseau was determined to plant a vineyard in this remote area; he eventually was able to purchase an iconic site – one which holds some of the largest deposits of limestone and decomposed granite in the world.Bill Brosseau, future winegrower, age three.
After spending a year clearing the chamise and chaparral, my father began planting in 1980 when I was just two-years old. With seventeen acres and little ground water, my dad quickly realized he would need to bring in water on a truck on weekends to keep the young vineyard alive. It was a test of his and my mom’s marriage. Fortunately they stuck it out; in the 1990’s, neighboring Chalone Vineyard was able to supply water and electricity to our property.
As a child, I spent every weekend working in the vineyard, playing with dirt bikes and trucks, and living a farming life. When each weekend ended, our family retreated back to Los Altos, switching back to city life. Come every Friday, repeat the cycle.
While I enrolled in the UC Davis Viticulture and Winemaking program, Brosseau Vineyard gradually expanded its acreage to include not only Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but also Syrah and Grenache. We now farm a total of 42 acres of vines.
Beginning In 2006, with the help of famed winemaker Well Guthrie, we began a purposeful conversion to organic farming practices. In 2011, we became the first fully certified organic vineyard in the Chalone Appellation and among only a handful on the entire Central Coast.
Since 1995, Brosseau Vineyard has been selling vineyard-designated fruit to prestigious wineries, increasing the visibility and reputation of our property. For our own Brosseau Wines label, I select grapes from my very favorite blocks – among the very same vine rows I have grown up in since age two.
What makes Brosseau Vineyard unique? The soils on our mountainside are truly special, combining crumbling granite from the Pinnacles with deep veins of limestone. It is very similar to the great vineyards of Burgundy. There is so much character to the soil; our local flora exhibit intense aromatic expressions of dried herbs and spice. The climate is dynamic; during the growing season, the days are warm before turning very cool and foggy at night. With low annual precipitation and our high elevation, there is a resulting concentration in the wines. Vintage-to-vintage, layered complexity and extended age-worthiness are the hallmarks of this special place – our family’s dream fulfilled.
Winegrower & Winemaker