Courtesy of the Youth Alliance:
The Youth Alliance is gearing up for its annual Change Makers event on Saturday. The event will be hosted at the Willey Cultural Center in downtown Gilroy beginning at 4 p.m. It will feature live entertainment by Retro Notes, raffles, auctions, wine and beer tastings by some of the areas best wineries and breweries.
This year, YA will be honoring The Christopher Family, Kanyon Sayers-Roods, and Cisco Locsin as the 2018 Change Makers for their outstanding and exemplary work. Proceeds will be used to sustain and expand its outreach, scholarships, and highly needed youth support services in Gilroy, Morgan Hill and San Benito County.
Youth Alliance is thrilled to announce that renowned vintner, Gustavo Brambila, also known as the godfather of wines, will be joining YA at this year’s Change Makers event! Gustavo Brambila has been honored by the Smithsonian and was one of the first Latinos to earn a degree from the prestigious viticulture and enology program at UC Davis. He was portrayed by actor Freddy Rodriguez in the 2008 film, Bottle Shock which tells the story of the 1976 Paris Tasting in which wines from several Napa wineries won this now famous blind tasting (including the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay).
Born in the tiny town of San Clemente, Jalisco in Mexico, Mr. Brambila moved to the Napa Valley with his father who worked for Beaulieu Vineyards during the 1960’s. Gustavo remembers the first time he became interested in wine – his father brought home a bottle of juice from crushed Muscat grapes. He remembers the diversity of aromas from this varietal and it’s sweetness – almost like a creamy soda.
Through his father’s connections he took an internship at Beaulieu Vineyard in 1967. It was here he met one of Napa’s most accomplished winemakers André Tchelistcheff and also a young Mike Grgich. After graduating from UC Davis, Mr. Brambila took a job at Chateau Montelena working alongside Mike Grgich. Later in 1977 Gustavo followed Mike Grgich to a winery (Grgich Hills) that Mike had founded with his partner Austin Hills; Gustavo worked on their first harvest. Not only did Gustavo help create the winning Chardonnay in the Paris Tasting of 1976 but several years later his work with Mike Grgich would again be rewarded. The Great Chardonnay Showdown was organized in 1980 in Chicago. Over 200 Chardonnays were entered in this competition with some International wines also represented. By the end of the competition Grgich Hill’s first Chardonnay vintage, the 1977 had triumphed over all the entries.
Gustavo spent more than 20 years at Grgich Hills. During the end of his tenure here he started making his own wine. This was in 1996 with merely 250 cases of wine. A 50 case Zinfandel was his first release. At his busiest time he making almost 8,000 cases each year. Today their annual production is closer to 2,500 cases. It was also in 1996 that Gustavo left Grgich Hills to spend time building his own wine brand. However word got around that he had left and Tony Peju of Peju Winery brought him on board to help oversee quality control at Peju Winery for several years.
Today Gustavo focuses on Gustavo Wine and consults as a winemaker for several clients (small premium producers). The focus of his wine-making is to stay true to the varietal, creating balanced food friendly wines in the style of the ‘old world’. He strives to create wines that don’t necessarily taste the same each year – respecting the vintage variations based on any given growing season. In 40 years he said he has never had one wine taste exactly like another wine. He wants to create the best possible wines from the fruit that is presented to him in the winery. Mr. Brambila states that “the keys to growing good wine start in the vineyard.” His wines have good balance – all have mouth watering acidity and tannin integration is especially important. Stylistically he is not making wines that are high alcohol in which the varietal characteristics are lost. He wants fruit to arrive at the winery – already in balance.
Buy your tickets today for a chance to meet Mr. Brambila and taste his world-class wine at the 2018 Change Makers. Tickets are now on sale through our Youth Alliance website at www.youthall.org, or can be purchased at the YA Administrative Office at 310 Fourth Street in Hollister, by phone, or email. Please visit youthall.org for more information. The event is sure to be a night of fun and excitement; we hope you will join us in celebrating our honorees, and supporting our local youth and families!