The winery was founded in the scenic Santa Cruz Mountains in the early 1960s and was one of the first of a new generation of wineries that would lead a modem resurgence of premium winemaking in the region. Founding the winery was a young dermatologist named David Bruce. Although raised in a teetotaler family, David discovered wine while a medical student through his interest in food and cooking. After completing his medical residency, he purchased 40 acres of land above the fogline in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He cleared the land himself and planted the vineyard by hand. At the time there were only one or two other working wineries in the region.
During the first 25 years of the winery, David divided his time, maintaining a full-time dermatology practice in Willow Glen and running the winery. He retired from his medical practice in 1985, the same year he married his wife, Jeannette Bruce, who remains an integral part of the winery.
The urge to make fine wine has always included a need to understand how fine wine is created. A combination of passion and scientific curiosity has led to pioneering efforts, now legendary, that have contributed to both the industry’s evolution and the quality of David Bruce wines. His work with the diversity of California grapes and winemaking techniques made him one of the first winemakers since Prohibition to produce a “Blanc de Noir,” a white wine from red zinfandel grapes, and to introduce “late harvest” wines.
David was also one of the first winemakers to put white wines through a secondary, malolactic fermentation; a California pioneer in the use of whole-berry fermentation in making red wines; one of the first California winemakers to import French oak barrels; and an early advocate of foot crushing, extensive skin contact, small-barrel fermentation, and rotary tanks.
Today, wines are produced from the winery’s estate vineyard featuring plantings of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Syrah, as well as from fruit sourced from over 30 of the best growers in Northern and Central California and representing 6 appellations. The breadth and diversity of grape sources have given David Bruce Winery experience in creating a broad range of wines and have firmly established the winery as one of the leading premium winemakers on the international stage.
We isolate each unique wine by using block-to-block harvesting and formation methods, which create a broad spectrum of flavors to increase the complexity in the finished blends. We continue to upgrade the vineyard through wider clonal selections and better trellis and irrigation systems. It has taught us that Pinot Noir requires a heightened sensitivity to site.