Gary Branham began crafting small lot artisan wines from estate grown grapes in 1998. Using time-honored techniques and fruit from winery-owned vineyards, Gary strives to produce balanced, age worthy wines. The portfolio includes nine wines from the Napa Valley (4), Rockpile (3), Russian River Valley (1), and Sonoma Coast (1) AVAs.
The Branham Obsidian Vineyard is located north of St. Helena along the Napa River at the confluence of Shelby & Ritchie Creeks. The vineyard gets its name from a mound of obsidian shards on the southwest corner of the vineyard. The ten-acre vineyard is planted in Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Petite Verdot. The soil is alluvial over gravel, which in concert with the Napa Valley climate produces fruit of intense varietal character, balanced acidity, structure and richness. The Branham Rockpile is located in Northwest Sonoma County on the famed “Rockpile Ranch” site. Planted in 1994, the 11 acres includes Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah grapes. The vines are situated on exposed, typically south-facing hillsides at an elevation of 1,500 feet. Soils are shallow, infertile, well drained--a rocky conglomeration of eroded volcanic materials, a perfect terroir to make the vines struggle.
It was hard for Gary and his roommates to take a bath during college, as the tub where he lived was the crush/fermentation vat for his burgeoning winemaking. Gary enrolled in the Graduate School at U.C. Davis in 1975, where he studied enology and viticulture alongside some of the pioneers of California winemaking. Upon completion of study he embarked on a career that has spanned over 29 years and many diverse winemaking experiences. Working in wineries and vineyards has taken him from the Napa Valley to New Zealand, Santa Clara to Australia and back to the Napa Valley and Sonoma County.
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