Winemaker, Canard Vineyard
Brian grew up in Denton, Texas which is just north of Dallas. His father was a real estate lawyer
and spent his hard-earned dollars on three things: his family, golf and wine.
At age 14 Brian’s father gave him his first experience with wine during the celebration of a large
real estate deal Brian’s dad had just closed:
After dinner the family raised their glasses and toasted success. Brian thought his drink was a
shot and downed the whole glass as if it were Jose Cuervo. Feeling pretty proud of himself, Brian
looked up with a beam on his face, only to see his dad’s face the color of a strawberry daquiri. He
explained to Brian that wine was meant to be savored and enjoyed, not pounded like a lunatic. He
added that Brian was not allowed to have any more wine with him until he learned the true
meaning of wine.
Brian’s embarrassment prompted an eager discourse with his father on a regular basis. That first
wine, a 1963 Dow port, launched an intense study and love of the elixir.
During college and several years after, Brian managed wine stores. After five years in retail,
Brian moved into the distribution field of the industry, feeling that he would be closer to the
source of his passion.
A year later, Brian called in a favor to a friend named Francois who owned a Chateau in
Bordeaux and asked if he could help Brian find a job and place to stay. Francois welcomed Brian
to work with him and his winemaking family for as long as he liked. Brian sold everything he
owned, purchased a one-way plane ticket to France then set off to learn how to grow grapes and
Brian attended the University of Bordeaux while working at several small Chateaux including
Chateau Roquefort in Bordeaux. He also worked harvest in Burgundy at an extremely small
winery named Domaine Serrigny - Jean-Pierre & Fils in Savigny-Les-Beaune. Hands on, all of
the machines were powered by hand, Brian loved working the land. Brian traveled France and
surrounding countries eating, tasting and soaking in the old world style of winemaking.
Wanting to learn more, while still living in France, Brian attended the Wine and Spirits
Educational Trust in London. The school specializes in teaching retailers every detail of each
wine region around the world. He was able to learn about techniques, terroirs and significant
nuances not attainable in any other way. Brian’s challenge was not in absorbing this volume of
information but flying to London to attend school, then flying back after class in order to continue
work in Bordeaux.
Brian moved to Napa in 1997, continuing his education and working for several wineries and
winemakers of distinction before focusing his attention on a special piece of land in Calistoga
called Canard Vineyard.
All of Canard’s single vineyard wines are produced from dry farmed, estate grown grapes which
are skillfully transformed into the finest expression of each varietal and showcase the unique
terroir from which they are grown. Brian’s French training straddles a fine line between Old
World elegance and the vibrancy of the fruit produced from this historic vineyard in Calistoga. In
just the last few vintages, Canard has received over fifty ratings of 90 points or above. Brian is
dedicated to creating wines of distinction with an emphasis on consistently producing quality
wines year after year.
Country born: United States
Education: Studied in Bordeaux. Interned at Chateau Roquefort .
Years in the wine industry: 10-15 years
Make the best wine possible from the whatever Mother Nature gives me. Every year is different and that's what makes winemaking so exciting. It's not too difficult to make good wine when all the conditions are perfect. The measure of a good winemaker is to see how he or she handles the difficult vintages.