Gustavo Brambila was born in San Clemente, Jalisco, Mexico. In 1957, his mother and brothers moved to join his father in Oakville, California, where he worked as a vineyard worker for Louis Bartolucci Vineyards.
In 1960, his parents moved the family to Rutherford, California where his father worked for Beaulieu Vineyard in winery maintenance, a move that forever altered the path for Gustavo. Surrounded by the culture, the passion, and the dedication of individuals who helped shape and define this famous wine region he grew up with a curiosity and a fascination about Andre Tchelistcheff, Mike Grgich, Dr. Richard Peterson, and Madam de Pins.
In 1966 Gustavo, had the pleasure of tasting his first Muscat juice filled with flowery aromas and crisp peach flavors. A moment in his life that forever altered the path for Gustavo as the bottle exploded and destroyed everything in his mother’s refrigerator. He felt responsible and said to her that he did not know how or why that happened and made her a promise to find the answers.
Gustavo went on to college on a baseball scholarship and transferred to the University of California Davis, obtaining his degree in Fermentation Sciences. He began his career in 1976 at Chateau Montelena, joining Mike Grgich and Jim Barrett. He saw and adopted the dedication needed to build a culture of curiosity and passion for high quality winemaking techniques. His father taught him that in building character you need hard work and a will to succeed. He knew it was a process. Two months into his career Chateau Montelena was one of the wineries that shocked the world in the 1976 “Judgement of Paris.” A blind tasting between four French white Burgundies against six California Chardonnays and four French Grand Cru Chateau red from Bordeaux against six California Cabernet Sauvignons. After casting the ballots, Chateau Montelena received the top score for white wine.
In 1977, Gustavo accepted an offer to join Mike Grgich and Austin Hills at Grgich Hills Cellar. In his first harvest, he produced the winning Chardonnay in the “The Great Chardonnay Showdown” of 1980, where 221 Chardonnays were selected from around the world for a blind wine competition. During his 23 years at Grgich Hills Cellar Gustavo worked to define wine excellence for consumers, wine writers, and winemakers. He produced 90+ scores for 23 consecutive years.
In 1996, Gustavo launched his own wine enterprise under the Gustavo Thrace brand. In 2002, he designed and developed the first downtown winery wine tasting room. A model adopted and used throughout the world. The story of the “Judgement of Paris” Chateau Montelena’s Chardonnay inspired the 2008 film “Bottle Shock” in which Freddy Rodriguez portrays Gustavo Brambila.
In 2013, Gustavo rebranded to Gustavo Wine. He is a master of subtlety, makes wines by visualizing varietal characters to achieve terroir balance. Focusing on climatic and geographic conditions, soil composition, and berry quality. He is a bouquet winemaker, a balance of aroma characters to achieve the balance of taste and finish for all his wines. He is an old world winemaker.