Winemaker, Leto Cellars
Few winemakers can currently speak, from experience, to best practices encompassing almost five decades in the industry, but Brad Warner is one of them. He has been a fixture in the Napa Valley for nearly 50 years and counting, inconspicuously advising colleagues on everything from wine quality to cellar sanitation.
Brad began his career humbly in the cellar at Charles Krug Winery in 1967, and not long afterward, joined the then fairly new Robert Mondavi Winery, where he carved out a distinguished and respected run of almost 30 years at the height of California???s emergence onto the fine wine scene. He served as Mondavi's Vice President of Production, and then Director of Property & Facilities, overseeing the expansion of Mondavi's operations, including the layout and operation of both Woodbridge and Opus One wineries.
Over the course of 8 years, Brad also made several visits to Burgundy and Bordeaux, France to learn first-hand, traditional French methods of winemaking and cellar operations. The lessons he learned there, along with his experience under Mondavi, gave him a solid foundation from which to craft wines and direct operations. They also molded his work ethic and advocacy for the industry. Hard work, best practices, quality, integrity and comaraderie are his hallmarks, all quickly apparent to anyone who deals with him.
After Brad's time at Mondavi, he became the Winemaker & Director of Operations at Sawyer Cellars, and then Winemaker & General Manager at Foley Johnson Winery.
Never one to slow down, and recognizing the need for a winery equipment resource in Napa Valley, Brad established Rutherford Equipment Rental in 1991, much to the delight of his colleagues. It was the Valley's first commercial winery equipment rental company, and today, it is a trusted and dependable partner for countless wineries throughout the Valley and beyond. Rutherford Equipment Rental is also the sole distributor for North American wineries of Airocide, a state of the art air purification system developed by NASA.
In 2008, Brad and his wife Lisa, fulfilled the dream of having their own wine brand in establishing Leto Cellars. Working with small, family-owned vineyards throughout Napa Valley, they craft limited production, single vineyard wines that stay true to what each vintage and terroir has to offer. The Warners will celebrate the grand opening of their cellar and tasting salon in spring of 2016.
Country born: USA
Education: While at Robert Mondavi Winery, Brad made several visits to Burgundy and Bordeaux, France over the course of 8 years, to learn first-hand, traditional French methods of winemaking. He cites Robert Mondavi as his most influential mentor, including how Mondavi ran his business - sharing information, being available for questions, continuous commitment to quality, and investing into the community at large in the belief that "a rising tide floats all boats."
Years in the wine industry: 30+ years
Winemaking begins with people. Growers and winemakers who truly care and respect the land, fruit, and process of winemaking, will always produce the best wine that each year offers.