Show 421, April 17, 2021: Winemaker Michael Brughelli, Folded Hills Winery, Ranch & Farmstead Part One

Michael Brughelli of Folded Hills Winery

“In 2017, Andy and Kim Busch started a business in their 50’s which they knew nothing about. Andy, coming from a long line of beer barons, had worked not in the beverage business but rather at Grant’s Farm, the original prototype for the Busch Gardens parks started by his father, Gussie. Folded Hills Winery, Farmstead, Ranch focuses on top notch wine making rather than beer.”

“The Busch’s own Folded Hills, a working ranch, an integrated sustainable farm is located just outside of Santa Barbara in the Santa Ynez Valley. When they purchased a contiguous piece of farming property they learned that the original farmsteader had planted a pre-prohibition vineyard and made wine in the basement of his farmhouse.”

“The Busches had purchased the property to keep the land agricultural in general and organic in particular and in 2014 decided to start farming organic grapes alongside the 18 acres of organic row crops, stone fruits, and animals.”

“As they were deciding what grape varietals to plant everyone told them to “plant what they love to drink”. Andy loves beer – that was no help- although they do have a small patch of hops growing. Kim loved Pinot Noir but the terroir would not grow a quality Pinot. They settled on the Rhône varietals which they knew absolutely nothing about. Now the hillsides are rolling with grape vines of syrah, grenache, Clairette blanc, grenache blanc and marsanne.”

Handsomely appointed Tasting Rooms are located at the vineyard estate in Gaviota and on Old Coast Highway in Montecito. For the guests’ convenience and safety advance appointments are suggested.

Winemaker Michael Brughelli is our guest and gently pull the cork on the unusual story of Folded Hills Winery for us.

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Show 421, April 17, 2021: Winemaker Michael Brughelli, Folded Hills Winery, Ranch & Farmstead Part Two

Michael Brughelli of Folded Hills Winery

“In 2017, Andy and Kim Busch started a business in their 50’s which they knew nothing about. Andy, coming from a long line of beer barons, had worked not in the beverage business but rather at Grant’s Farm, the original prototype for the Busch Gardens parks started by his father, Gussie. Folded Hills Winery, Farmstead, Ranch focuses on top notch wine making rather than beer.”

“The Busch’s own Folded Hills, a working ranch, an integrated sustainable farm is located just outside of Santa Barbara in the Santa Ynez Valley. When they purchased a contiguous piece of farming property they learned that the original farmsteader had planted a pre-prohibition vineyard and made wine in the basement of his farmhouse.”

“This is a heart project for the Busches and they wanted to bring some of their mid-West roots and family heritage to the project. Many of the wines have names that harken back to their iconic St. Louis history.”

“Their award-winning Lilly Rosé is named for six generations of Lilly’s.” From Lilly Anheuser who married Adolphus Busch in 1861, to their 3 -year old grand-daughter, Lilly. The Grant Grenache is named for the family seat in St. Louis, Grant’s Farm, which was named for Ulysses S. Grant, the original farmsteader of the that land. The August Red and August White are named for Andy’s grandfather and father, August Busch Sr. And Jr. His father, August, Jr., or Gussie, was the one who gave his father the first Clydesdale hitch to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition in 1934.

“The Busches still ponder why they decided to launch a business that they knew so little about, so late in life, after their children had left home. But it is working. Folded Hills has won many awards for the wines which are grown organically, following the biodynamic calendar. The wines are hand-crafted in small batches with minimal intervention.”

Winemaker Michael Brughelli oversees all winemaking, working directly with the vineyard and cellar staff in a hands-on fashion. “A California native, Brughelli is perhaps best known as winemaker for Scar of the Sea, a label he co-founded with Mikey Giugni. A darling of critics and sommeliers alike, Scar of the Sea quickly rose in prominence as Brughelli’s wines drew wide notice. In 2019, he sold his portion of Scar of the Sea back to Giugni in order to launch his own consultancy, Vignerons. Previously, Brughelli was at Bien Nacido Vineyard, in the Santa Maria Valley appellation of Santa Barbara County, where over the course of seven seminal years, he rose from Sales Manager to Director of Sales to Director of Supply.”

Winemaker Michael Brughelli continues with us providing the unusual story of Folded Hills Winery.

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