Press Archives


The Salt Lake Tribune | Utah-born vintner brings fruit of Rhone-honed skills back home | May 2008

Daily Candy SF | In a Word: kickass | February 2008

“…Husband-and-wife team Jared and Tracey Brandt turn out small cases of sustainably produced Rhone varietals from the Sierra Foothills and Anderson Valley the Old World way. That means they don’t rely on science for a “perfect” blend, they crush grapes with their feet, and they get their friends to help come harvest time. The result: seriously good vino. The Three Thirteen (a blend of syrah, mourvèdre, and grenache) varietal has already been winning raves…”

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate | Latest Reviews, Issue 174 | December 2007


2005 Fenaughty Vinyeard Syrah, 90pts: The 2005 Syrah Fenaughty Vineyard exhibits loads of blueberry and blackberry fruit intermixed with meaty, black olive, and pepper notes. Surprisingly silky-textured, opulent, fleshy, and seductive, it will provide pleasure over the next 5-6 years.

2005 Syrah Vieilles Vignes, 89pts: Another elegant offering is the 2005 Syrah Vieilles Vignes. Good acidity as well as attractive raspberry, blueberry, spring flower, and bay leaf notes are present in this mid-weight, stylish, authoritatively flavored Syrah. Drink it over the next 5-6 years.

2006 Chardonnay Brosseau Vineyard, Chalone, 88pts: The medium-bodied, Chablis-styled 2006 Chardonnay Brosseau Vineyard offers aromas and flavors of lemon oil, nectarine, and wet rocks. Drink it over the next several years.

Conde Nast Portfolio | Wine and the City | October 2007

Contra Costa Times | Taking it to the streets | September 2007


Taking it to the streets by Jessica Yadegaran

Urban wineries show soul, not soil

The Naturalist, A Donkey and Goat Winery

“…In the Rhone, the Brandts followed the principles of biodynamic and traditional farming, and have incorporated some of these older and sustainable practices into their winemaking. They rarely inoculate their wines with yeast. For their Chardonnay, they pick twice, once in July and again in August, to utilize that early natural acid and avoid adding artificial acid later….”

Oakland Magazine | Uncorked | October 2007

Oakland Tribune | The Naturalists | September 2007


Jessica Yadegaran of the Oakland Tribune wrote an excellent article about the Oakland (and Berkeley) wine scene. The oce:

The Naturalists

-Winemakers: Jared and Tracey Brandt, A Donkey and Goat, Berkeley.

-What they make: About 1,300 cases of Rhone varietals and chardonnay.

-Old World education: The Brandts left their tech jobs in 2001 and headed to France to study winemaking for a year under Eric Texier, a Rhone and Macon area winemaker.

-Crushpad co-founder: Upon their return, Tracey and her former colleague Michael Brill launched Crushpad, a San Francisco custom crush facility.

-That name: In Cote Rotie, donkeys are used for organic weed control. After a long day in the vineyard, they become noticeably cranky. So winemakers bring in goats at night to keep them company and soothe them. According to the Brandts, the pairing dates back to 345 A.D.

-Their pairing: In many husband-and-wife winemaking teams the women focus on the books and marketing side of operating a winery, but Tracey is adamant about sharing the dirty work with Jared.

-Texier tutelage: In the Rhone, the Brandts followed the principles of biodynamic and traditional farming, and have incorporated some of these older and sustainable practices into their winemaking.

-Happy feet: Like famous Burgundian wineries, the Brandts practice pigeage a pied, or foot stomping. “We sterilize the feet first,” Jared says.

-Why the East Bay: “Because we can afford to do what we want to do,” Jared says. “We can take more risks. If we don’t like the results we don’t sell the wine.”

Inside Bay Area | The Naturalists | September 2007

Imbibe | Syrah in the City | May 2007


Syrah in the City by Richard Reynolds

Urban wine makers set up shop in the industrial parks of San Francisco’s East Bay

“…On the asphalt outside Berkeley’s A Donkey and Goat winery, 35-year-old owner Jared Brandt is scooping grapes out of a 500-liter wooden barrel. His wife, Tracey, is moving more barrels around with a forklift, and several friends are helping out. Today they’re pressing their 2006 syrah, an elegant, medium-bodied wine made with grapes trucked in from Broken Leg Vineyard…”

Oakland Magazine | Going Natural | April 2007


Going Natural by Laurie Daniel

Berkeley Winery Tries Eco-Friendly Approach

For Jared and Tracey Brandt, owners and winemakers of A Donkey and Goat winery in Berkeley, green practices begin in the vineyard. The couple got much of their winemaking training by working for Eric Texier, a vintner in France’s Rhône Valley who works with grape growers committed to low yields and natural farming methods. So when the Brandts got started—their first commercial harvest was 2004—they followed Texier’s example.”

Appellation America | 2005 Brosseau Vineyard Chardonnay Recommendation | May 2007


by Laurie Daniel

2005 Brosseau Vineyard Chardonnay, Chalone

“Jared and Tracey Brandt of A Donkey and Goat winery in Berkeley have a very European sensibility when it comes to wine. For one thing, they are very particular about the acidity in their wines. That’s led to an unusual method for making this Chardonnay from the Chalone AVA.

They love the minerality they get from the Brosseau Vineyard, but they found that the acid levels in the grapes would drop before the flavors were mature. Rather than just add acidity in the winery, they devised an ingenious process: Right after veraison, long before the grapes are ripe, they harvest 2 to 3 percent of the crop. They press the grapes – which is difficult, because the grapes at the level of development are on the hard side – then refrigerate the very tart juice (which is like verjus used in cooking) until the rest of the crop can be harvested. The tart juice is blended in before fermentation. The resulting wine, which sells for $40, is lean, racy and Chablis-like, with lemon and mineral flavors. It’s still very tight and would benefit from more time in the bottle.”

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar | Latest Press | January 2007


Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

2005 Chardonnay Brosseau Vineyard, Chalone: Peach Skin Color. Pear, melon, lemon ice tea, incence and a leesy nuance on the nose. Juicy on entry, then nicely concentrated and rich in extract, although the wine’s saline character and edge of lemony acidity are not currently in harmony. Finishes quite dry, with an impression of solidity. 88

Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate | Latest Reviews | December 2006


2005 Chardonnay Brosseau Vineyard, Chalone, 88
2005 Syrah Broken Leg Vineyard, Anderson Valley, 89
2005 Three Thirteen, California, 87

These interesting as well as creatively packaged wines are all very good. The 2005 Brosseau Chardonnay is surprising light for a wine from this vineyard. Made in a Chablis-like style, it offers notes of orange blossoms, citrus, and lemon with the oak clearly pushed to the background. Enjoy this attractive Chardonnay over the next several years. An hommage to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the 2005 Three Thirteen is a blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache. The name reflects the three varietals this estate uses as opposed to the thirteen grapes permitted in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. A Rhône Valley-like bouquet of strawberries, cherries, peppers, herbs, lavender and spice emerge from this straight forward red. Consume it over the next 2-3 years. The best in this group appears to be the 2005 Syrah Broken Leg Vineyard. From a cool Anderson Valley site, it exhibits plenty of blueberry, raspberry, sweet cherry, floral, and spice characteristics. Pure, medium-bodied, elegant and authoritatively flavored, it will drink well for 5-6 years.

San Francisco Chronicle | East Bay Rising | November 2006


East Bay rising, by W. Blake Gray

“Forget bucolic hills with neat rows of grapevines and breezy summer days far from traffic. To make wine, you need to buy grapes from Wine Country, but you don’t have to live there. There’s a bustling urban wine scene developing in the East Bay, with wineries nestled into warehouses beside factories and tasting rooms accessible by BART and commuter ferry.”

Grape Radio | Urban Wineries | September 2006


Urban Wineries

“Grape Radio sits in with Michael Brill (CrushPad), Tracey Brandt (A Donkey and Goat), Sasha Verhage (Eno), and Andrew Vingiello (AP Vin), four urban winemakers from the Bay Area, to discuss how they got started, and the advantages and disadvantages of making their wines in the big city.”

The Wall Street Journal | Tastings | February 2006


TASTINGS by Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher

American Syrah Makes A Name for Itself

A Donkey and Goat ‘Vidmar Vineyard’ 2004 (Yorkville Highlands): Blackberries, pepper and earth. Great fruit. Nicely balanced, with a medium weight. More drinkable, less intense than some.

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar | Latest Press | January 2006


January/February 2006, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

A Donkey and Goat 2004 Syrah Vidmar Vineyard Yorkville Highlands($32): Full red-ruby. Nose shows sassafras, earth, sweet oak and an almost confectionary cherry element. Sweet, spicy and very New World in style, with flavors of cherry, raspberry and cola. The impression of sweetness lasts through the richly oaky finish but is supported throughout by freshness. Only a building element of oaky torrefaction kept this wine below 90 points. 89. 2004 Syrah Carson Ridge El Dorado ($32): Reticent aromas of marachino cherry, incense and herbs. A sappy, concentrated fruit bomb on the palate, with intriguing nuances of juniper and wild herbs adding interest to the intense cherry flavor. Not at all overly sweet. Finishes with dusty wood tannins and very good length. 89. 2004 Syrah Vieilles Vignes McDowell Valley ($34): Bright ruby-red. Musky aromas of meat, cedar and espresso. Supple and lush, with varietally typical dark berry flavors. This comes across a bit less complex and delineated than the Vidmar or Carson Ridge bottlings but it’s the biggest and most pliant of these three 2004 syrah release. Finishes with a flavor of jammy blackberry. 88

California Wine and Food Magazine | Rhone Varietal Harvest Bears Fruit | December 2005


December 2005, California Wine and Food Magazine,

Rhone Varietal Harvest Bears Fruit

“While some of those lower yields can be attributed to shatter, Tracey Brandt from A Donkey and Goat Winery said that their Mendocino County Syrah was off by 50% this year, not just because of weather, but because a bear ate over a half ton of the fruit…”

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate | Latest Press | December 2005


December 26, 2005, Robert M. Parker Jr.’s The Wine Advocate

A Donkey and Goat 2004 Syrah Carson Ridge El Dorado 89
A Donkey and Goat 2004 Vidmar Vineyard Yorkville Highlands 90
A Donkey and Goat 2004 Syrah Vieilles Vignes McDowell Valley 88

These three excellent, heady 2004 Syrahs are made in an up-front juicy, immediate gratifying style. The 2004 Syrah Carson Ridge shows excellent gamey, blackberry fruit notes intermixes with pepper and soil undertones. It is medium-bodied, supple,and best drunk over the next 3-4 years. Slightly deeper and fuller-bodied, with more definition as well as abundant fruit is the 2004 Syrah Vidmar Vineyard. It offers plenty of blackberry and peppery notes, sweet oak, and loads of fruits. Enjoy it over the next 5-7 years. With more blueberry characteristics in its cooler-climate personality, the 2004 Syrah Vieilles Vignesreveals a deep runy/purple color, medium body, elegant blue and red fruits, and a clean, well-defined finish. It should drink well for 3-4 years.

Alameda Sun | Mexican Food with Wine? | June 2005


June 16, 2005, Alameda Sun

Mexican Food with Wine? Fine. By Gil Michaels

“The plato: Juanita’s Combination No. H: A chicken flauta and a chile verde burrito. The wine: A Donkey and Goat Grenache-Gris Rosé 2004, McDowell Valley. Stunning shades of strawberry, medium-bodied, medium-dry. Cherry, berry and toast aromas frolic in the glass like the Munchkins from the Lollipop Guild. Flavors of getting a passionate lip-lock from a giant love-struck strawberry. Oy, mamacita! Drink more rosé!”

KQED’s Food Blog | Bay Area Bites | June 2005


June 17, 2005, KQED’s Food Blog, Bay Area Bites,

Donkeys and Goats

“Keep your eyes out for this young winery; Tracey and Jared are not only knowledgeable and passionate about what they are doing, but they are already producing some fantastic wines.”

Piedmont Post | California’s Syrah | April 2005


April 13, 2005

California’s Syrah – the next big thing

“This small Berkeley based winery buys grapes from around the state and lovingly vinifies them into exquisite French styled Syrahs. This wine has the elegance, finesse and perfumed nose of a good Côte Rôtie for half the price.”

The Wall Street Journal | Taking Sides in the Butter Battle | February 2006

Oakland Tribute | Donkey & Goat Getting Started | July 2004

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