Berkeley, California (EastBayDaily) — Donkey & Goat, a wife and husband-owned winery producing natural wines, is once again headed to Europe to join likeminded producers for a natural wine event. At VinNatur, which offers two days of intensive exchanges and experiences around natural wine for the public and trade, Donkey & Goat will be the only U.S. winery to join more than 100 winemakers from nine European countries sharing their thoughts and practices around natural winemaking. The 7th annual VinNatur event takes place April 11-12 at Villa Favorita in Vicenza, Italy.
Both Tracey and Jared Brandt, co-winemakers/proprietors, will travel to Villa Favorita, located approximately 49km east of Verona Itay, for the VinNatur event.
“In 2001, we moved to France to train with Èric Texier because we believed in natural winemaking before it was fashionable,” said Tracey Brandt, Donkey & Goat co-winemaker and proprietor. “We made a conscious decision to learn the art of making wine, not the science.”
VinNatur is an association created to promote natural viticulture and winemaking practices. The organization believes that producing wine in a natural way means to act with full respect for the terroir, of the vine and nature, and to extend this philosophy from vineyard to cellar, limiting the use of invasive and toxic chemical agents and technological wizardry in favor of traditional methods which tend to be more natural and respectful.
In November 2009, Donkey & Goat participated as the only U.S. winery at Haut les Vins, in Stockholm, where 30 producers gathered for an intimate presentation of natural wines at The Grand Hotel.
“Pouring our wines at this event in Stockholm was beyond description,” said Jared Brandt, Donkey & Goat co-winemaker and proprietor. “And when the sommelier from the illustrious Grand Hotel, where the event was held, visited our Berkeley, California winery in January and we discussed which of our wines might be poured at the next Nobel Prize dinner, I had to pinch myself to make sure I was not dreaming!”
For those unable to travel to Italy or Stockholm, Donkey & Goat will host their semi-annual open house party on Saturday March 20 from 1pm-5pm to celebrate the release of their seven new wines: 2009 Isabel’s Cuvée, Grenache Rosé (SRP $18/btl) 2008 El Dorado Syrah (SRP $20/btl) 2008 El Dorado Roussanne (SRP $20/btl) 2008 The Prospector Mourvèdre, El Dorado (SRP $25/btl) 2008 Four Thirteen, Red Wine Blend, El Dorado (SRP $32/btl) 2008 Brosseau Vineyard Chardonnay, Chalone (SRP $40/btl) 2007 Vieilles Vignes Syrah, Mendocino (SRP $35/btl)
The open house party will be held at Donkey & Goat Winery, 2323 B 4th Street, Berkeley. Jazz trio and winery favorite, Michael LaMacchia Trio, will set the tone for the day while soon-to-open Berkeley restaurant, Locanda da Eva, will feature an array of their menu items, including grilled beef spiedini atop arugula, deviled Soul Food Farm eggs and tortilla espanola with spinach, mushrooms, fontina and romesco sauce to name a few. Admission is $20 in advance at brownpapertickets.com/event/101142 or $30 at the door (cash only). Admission includes a souvenir Riedel glass. Or guests can take advantage of Donkey & Goat’s unique green promotion and BYOG (glass) and receive a $10 off voucher for any $50+ wine purchase. As in years past, Donkey & Goat will not offer any plastic water bottles and instead will offer EBMUD tap via stainless tanks for free! http://www.donkeyandgoat.com/openhouse About Donkey & Goat Winery Donkey & Goat (http://www.donkeyandgoat.com) is a Berkeley, California based urban winery that specializes in natural winemaking for their Chardonnay and Rhône varietal wines. Read their winemaking manifesto here: http://www.adonkeyandgoat.com/2009/11/our-manifesto.html These distinctive, soulful wines are produced using France’s classic, labor intensive techniques, such as adding “ver jus” (unripe grapes) to acidify Chardonnay, and never using cultivated yeasts, enzymes, nutrients, or color enhancers. Wines are never vinified in plastic, remain “sur lie” (no racking) with low sulphur and are bottled without fining or filtration. The winery was founded in 2003 by husband and wife team Tracey and Jared Brandt who are the “donkey and goat” behind these sustainably farmed and artfully produced wines. Learn more about Donkey & Goat on their blog at http://www.adonkeyandgoat.com/Blog_2009.html. Follow Donkey & Goat on Twitter @donkeyandgoat.