Why o’ why would we start our own label, when we both have perfectly good jobs making wine for reputable and profitable companies? So how did we find ourselves in this circumstance we cleverly call Emerson Brown? The answer spans the six vintages we’ve been working together, though at its core, can be explained quite simply – Naïveté of Youth.
We began working hand in glove at Vineyard 29 during the harvest season of 2005, a vintage marked by an excessively large crop; so big that many wineries turned fruit away at the crush pad if it exceeded the tonnage stipulated on the purchase agreement. Wineries were fermenting at capacity and tanks were full to the brim. Horse-trading was rampant, as growers frantically sought any spot in which to park their fruit lest it rot on the vine.
It was in this heady environment, on an afternoon near the end of the season, that we caught wind of an opportunity to purchase some Oakville Cabernet. Around three and a half tons had been left unpicked at III Michaels Estate, a postage stamp of a vineyard on the eastern bench in northern Oakville. The pedigree of the site and the quality of fruit were undeniable. We scratched out some rude arithmetic over a few pints and ultimately decided the venture could be the proverbial gold-laying goose and couldn’t possibly be passed up.
So with excitement frothing over like the suds in our glasses, we shook hands and decided right then and there to name our freshly established label Emerson Brown, because it was obvious no one would ever want to drink a Brown Emerson.
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