Blake Yarger Named Winemaker for Big Basin Vineyards
Boulder Creek, Calif. --Blake Yarger has been promoted to Winemaker at Big Basin Vineyards, officially assuming the job title for a role that he has been sharing with Bradley Brown for the past year. Yarger has responsibility for the full portfolio of the highly acclaimed Big Basin Vineyard wines and will continue his heavy involvement in vineyard management.
“Promoting Blake to Winemaker was a no-brainer for me,” says Founder and Owner, Bradley Brown. “When we hired Blake as Assistant Winemaker in 2017, he already had almost 10 years of winemaking and cellar experience. We have worked side-by-side for four harvests at Big Basin, and I have come to trust and value Blake’s knowledge, opinions and integrity.
“This past year, we suffered a direct hit by the CZU Lightening Complex fire just prior to harvest. While the team scrambled to get our winery facility up and functioning, Blake’s resourcefulness and maniacal commitment to quality saved the vintage. We were lucky to find some untainted fruit, but even luckier to have Blake confidently and calmly making great wine while I dealt with the fallout of losing my house, the estate fruit and much of the vineyard and winery infrastructure. I have no doubt that Blake will elevate Big Basin wines to the next level and position us for the next decade.”
Brown will remain involved in blending sessions and portfolio decisions, but will be focusing more time on Sales and Fire Recovery efforts.
Yarger came to Big Basin Vineyards in 2017 as Assistant Winemaker after 10 years at McEvoy Ranch Winery in Petaluma, CA where he quickly worked his way up from Cellar Master to Winemaker, producing a wide variety of high-quality, minimal intervention wines. Yarger studied Agroecology under Miguel Altieri at UC Berkeley and completed additional training in sustainable farming, winemaking and viticulture at UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis.
"I've always been proud to be amongst the impressive lineage of Assistant and Associate Winemakers who have helped craft the Big Basin Vineyards wines over the years. It is a great honor that Bradley is entrusting me to take over winemaking. As Winemaker, the lineage isn’t long. I’m only the second one,” says Yarger. “In addition to our outstanding estate vineyards , we work closely with exceptional growers in the rugged Santa Cruz and Gabilan mountain ranges. I am very excited to continue exploring this terroir and revealing the nuances of these exceptional sites."
About Big Basin Vineyards
Big Basin is a family owned and run estate vineyard and winery located in the Santa Cruz Mountains near Boulder Creek, California. Founded by Bradley Brown in 2000, Big Basin Vineyards produces some of the most compelling small-production artisan wines from the Santa Cruz and Gabilan Mountains. Big Basin farms organically and practices minimal-intervention winemaking and is best known for its elegant Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah, in addition to a wide selection of Rhone-style blends and varietals.