For our third #PinnaclePartners interview, we're speaking with one of the most dynamic voices in California's Central Coast -- Greg Brewer. As the winemaker of Brewer-Clifton, Ex Post Facto, and Diatom, Greg brings precision to each bottling. Back in May, we were lucky enough to host Greg here in Missouri, and last summer we visited him in California. He spoke to us about fermentation, climate change, and inspiration. Read on to learn more!
Pinnacle: You visited us in Missouri back a few months ago. What did you think?
Greg Brewer: I loved every moment in the market. Such a dynamic place. With that, I also feel biased as I know of few other distributor partners as driven, smart, thoughtful, and professional as Pinnacle. It is very much S.W.A.T. / Navy Seals level execution. If you dropped that squad in the middle of nowhere, I’m sure you would be able to ignite a passionate food and wine community. Such an inspiration to work with you.
Pinnacle: You've been making wine for over a quarter-century. Where do you find inspiration these days?
Greg Brewer: I have always found inspiration everywhere and am typically not fettered by the world of wine. Art, music, fashion, architecture, nature. As an example, there is a German-born artist friend of mine, Udo Nöger, who paints light using a very specific technique and the color white. I love his work. So inspiring to see such an old art form such as painting executed in an ultimately simplistic way that doesn’t resemble anything else that has come before it. Truly amazing. Vulnerability, transparency, and surrender are always the goals and can be found in so many areas of our lives if one looks and reflects with intent.
Pinnacle: You've spoken eloquently in the past about your passion for Japanese culture and cuisine. How has that interest informed your approach to winemaking?
Greg Brewer: Anything and everything, for now and forever. Precision, discipline, total surrender to the task at hand with a pure devotion that cannot be put into words. Additionally, an awareness of space and others around you that is so beautiful. Fear of imposition and avoidance of standing out. The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.
Pinnacle: You're pretty adamant about the role of stem inclusion in your Pinot Noir. Why is that? How does stem inclusion fit into your winemaking approach to Syrah?
Greg Brewer: Just like Pinot, Syrah is a grape that lends itself to stem participation in our eyes. Corseting and corralling the fruit like a sear, nori, or soy. The herbal spiciness also amplifies and complements the inherent peppery qualities of Syrah.
Pinnacle: We hear so much about climate change impacting wine regions. How is this playing out specifically in the Sta Rita Hills?
Greg Brewer: We are of course experiencing climate change as is everyone. With that said in my 32 years working on this highway, there have always been swings and trends. For us, I think that the adjacent cold Pacific will help to temper “some” of the swings that we will expect over the next decades. There should also be consideration that our very cool environment could ultimately prove to be too cool over the long span of time. It will be fascinating to see.
Pinnacle: What was the last wine (not your own!) that really wowed you?
Greg Brewer: The 2020 Bergström Chardonnay La Spirale that Sonja and I had at home a week or two ago. Josh is an incredible talent and his work always delivers such a thought-provoking X-factor. Always love EVERYTHING that he does, and he is also just such a cool and generous human.