Chris Brockway hails from the midwest originally, but eventually landed in California, first at UC Davis and then Cal State Fresno. At Fresno, he studied winemaking while working in the school’s functioning winery. After receiving a degree in both winemaking and viticulture and enology, he moved to the Bay Area to start making wine at an urban winery in Oakland. Other than a collaborative project called Broadside Wines with Brian Terrizzi of Giornata (San Luis Obispo County), Brockway has made his own wines for his own label since 2004.
He created Broc Cellars with the idea of creating site-specific wines produced from sustainably, organically, or biodynamically grown grapes only. Believing that grapes develop complexity when forced to struggle for survival, he focused on area considered marginal growing spots. Even then, his approach is hands off, allowing the grapes to speak for themselves as much as possible.
The small urban winery in Berkeley (around the corner from Donkey & Goat) has very little modern equipment (grapes are thrown in whole-clusters into fermenters using pitchforks!). Fermentation is spontaneously generated, grapes are basket pressed and then go into bottle with little or no sulfur. Check out more on Chris Brockway in a 2010 article by Edible SF.
Tonight, Nopa pours the 2014 White Zinfandel out of magnum by-the-glass. The grapes for this wine come from two different non-certified organic vineyards in Sonoma. Every year, the grapes from the highest elevation of the vineyard suffer from sun damage, so the folks at Broc Cellars decided to pick them early and make a rose instead of their Vine Starr red.