Donkey & Goat is celebrated for being amongst a handful of pioneers in the Natural Wine community because in 2004 they were unique for their ecological principles driving decisions in both the vineyard and the cellar and ten years later for promoting transparency, being one of the first to list ingredients on their label. Founding winemakers Jared Brandt & Tracey Rogers spent a year with the inimitable Eric Texier in 2002 studying the art of crafting natural wines in the Rhone Valley before co-founding Donkey & Goat in 2004 in San Francisco.
Sept. 2002, Tracey cleans bins in France
First Berkeley Winery, 2006- 2011
Rogers also co-founded Crushpad, at 1890 Bryant Street, which provided Donkey & Goat a launchpad with absolute winemaking control (imagine a custom crush facility in 2004 supporting natural wines?!) yet without investors who might have driven a more popular approach to winemaking (chasing Parker scores was at odds with making food friendly, high acid, low ABV natural wines). Over the next seventeen years Donkey & Goat was among the first to make & name skin-contact or orange wines (Stone Crusher 2009), sparkling Pétillant-Naturel Wines (Lily’s Pet Nat 2011), and chillable red wines (Twinkle 2015).
Original Label By Jane Fisher & Colin Frangos
Second Label, 2008-2014
In 2006, with distribution around the US and a growing mailing list, Donkey & Goat moved to 2323-B 4th Street in Berkeley where they built out the first winery facility that is now home to Maître de Chai Wine. Five years later in March of 2011, with a newborn Lily Brandt, Rogers embarked upon the extensive build out for the current Winery & Tasting Room at 1340 5th Street which opened in July of 2011. Today the Berkeley Wine Block includes three additional wineries that Rogers helped bring to the block: Broc Cellars (2013), Hammerling Wines (2018) and Vinca Minor (2019).
Tracey Rogers Brandt Proprietor, Winemaker, & GM
A New Path Forward
With the 2021 vintage Tracey Rogers Brandt began making Donkey & Goat wines on her own and with the 2022 vintage she is joined by Director of Winemaking, Connor Bockman.
Additionally, every vintage includes a rotating and critical supporting cast of passionate creators during harvest. Rogers’ innovation and drive continues and most recently with initiating a dialog around the future of crafting delicious natural wines in the face of increasing climate impact.
With the 2021 vintage, her first solo, Donkey & Goat lost ten wines to existential level climate impact but Rogers also created fifteen never made before wines after her call for help to the wine community returned numerous offers to jump into unplanned vineyards.
Anyone who thinks they know Donkey & Goat Wines but hasn’t’ tasted this decade must revisit. Together, Rogers and Bockman are guiding the wines in new directions while taking great care to ensure the wines are as delicious on your table as they are in the cellar.
The Making of 2022 Vintage
Connor Bockman, Director of Winemaking
Zachary Becerra, Former ’22 Harvest crew & Current Director of Hospitality
Harvest Interns Tony & Hanna crushing Cab Pfeffer
27,460 pounds of Pinot Gris & Cab Pfeffer packed in our office after the Week in the Trenches
Iconic California Pét Nat
In 2009 Jared began experimenting with sparkling wine after sharing a bottle of French Pétillant Naturel (PÉT NAT for short) with another inimitable winemaker in Los Angeles. In 2011 we debuted our first vintage of Lily’s Pet Nat, Sparkling Chardonnay that is still made today!
“I was inspired to make Pét Nats by both the traditional Pétillant Naturel made by vignerons in rural France for their own consumption and the desire to make bubbles without any additives.”
— Jared Brandt
Founding Winemaker & Co-owner
Donkey & Goat First Vintages
2011 Lily’s Pet Nat, Anderson Valley
2013 Kraisey Pet Nat, Anderson Valley
2015 Ramato Pet Nat, Anderson Valley
2015 Clairette Pet Nat, El Dorado
2016 Blanca Pet Nat, Anderson Valley
2017 Pinot Meunier Pet Nat, Russian River
2021 Gruner Pet Nat, California
2021 Merlot Pet Nat, Mendocino
California Orange Wine Pioneers
In 2007 we dabbled with skin contact Roussanne bottled as Tamarindo and by 2009 were labeling a 14 day skin contact Roussanne as Stone Crusher which is still made today!
Donkey & Goat First Vintages
2009 Stone Crusher, Roussanne, El Dorado
2012 Grenache Blanc, El Dorado
2014 Ramato Pinot Gris, Anderson Valley
2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Mendocino Ridge
2017 Alveare, Marsanne, El Dorado
2018 Stems & Skins Vermentino, El Dorado
We work with a handful of farmers who share our ethos and drive to make delicious terroir-driven wine while considering the larger environment, planet, and our impact. We like to grow with a farmer rather than grow our list of farmers.
We currently make wine from the following California AVA’s and since 2021 we also blend these celebrated AVA’s to make Climate-Driven Creative Wines out of necessity.
Our celebrated AVA’s:
- Anderson Valley
- El Dorado
- San Benito
- Sonoma Mountain
- Russian River
Ron Mansfield, Goldbud Farms
El Dorado Farming with Goldbud Farms
“It took us two years to convince Ron to trust his Fenaughty Vineyard Syrah in our hands and we made our first vintage in 2005. That was the start of our longest grower relationship. Ron and Chuck Mansfield are salt of the earth, meticulous, passionate farmers who always think about the resulting wines with every decision they make.”
–Tracey Rogers Brandt
The Gilman Wine Block
Berkeley has long been in the epicenter for the farm to table movement thanks to the legendary Alice Waters. Today Berkeley also claims an extraordinary concentration of natural winemakers with Donkey & Goat, Hammerling, Broc Cellars and Vinca Minor Wines all in the Gilman Wine Block where we operate our Tasting Rooms, hold block parties and more.
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