When we were first starting out, we quickly became disappointed with the lack of good natural wine in the $20-$30 range. Not being the kind of people to say ‘well, it is what it is’, we got to work thinking about how we could remedy this situation. So, we started talking with our producers and, already knowing what we wanted - native yeast fermentations, low or zero SO2 additions, and the like; basically pure unadulterated glou glou that we could put into a liter-sized screw-top bottle and would be a great introduction to natural wine - it didn’t take long for us to find winemakers who were willing to partner with us on this project. All it needed was a name.
The first run of Boutanche was back in 2012. As you may remember, it had a bright pink label that read ‘La Boutanche’ with pig in a Hawaiian shirt polishing off a glass of wine above that, and not much else. The juice inside was what mattered (at the time it was Gamay made by Maison PUR), and the juice inside seriously overdelivered for its low retail price. It was an immediate hit. Flash forward to today and there are many different Boutanche: the grasshopper (Andi Knauss), the fish (Frantz Saumon), the pig (Olivier Minot), the French bulldog (Quentin Bourse), the gorilla (Martin Texier), you name it. We are committed to expanding the line and having Boutanche be the first bottle you reach for around $20, either if it’s your daily go-to wine or if it will be your first natural wine experience. Boutanche is now synonymous with high-quality natty juice at a fair price, so stay tuned for new releases under this label.
Chris Brockway came to call Berkeley home (for his cellar anyways) by way of Omaha, Nebraska, where he was born and raised, Seattle, and finally Los Angeles, with a couple short stops in between. After graduating from the University of Nebraska, he began working in restaurants around the city before decamping to the Pacific Northwest, where he ultimately became interested in wine. After a friend joked that he should learn how to actually make it, he packed his things and enrolled in winemaking courses at UC Davis. Before finishing, he made the move to Cal State Fresno, which has its own functioning winery, and this is where he became an expert, as he says, in everything he does not use.
He finished his studies and quickly landed a job at JC Cellars, by all means a conventional winery. At the same time he began to frequent Terroir, San Francisco’s first natural wine bar, and began to think a lot about experimenting with the wines he liked to drink. And so, with a few small experiments, Broc Cellars was born.
His facility comprises two warehouses, one with multiple stainless steel, concrete, and wooden tanks, the other a dedicated barrel and concrete egg room. All fermentations are done with native yeasts, and for the most part he forgoes the use of sulfur. If needed, he will add a few milligrams about four weeks before bottling so that it fully integrates into the wine.