Brian Terrizzi landed his first harvest job at a party. He met Jeff Cohn, then the winemaker at Rosenblum, today the winemaker and owner of JC Cellars, and asked him how he could get into winemaking.
“Come work harvest for Rosenblum,” Jeff told him. “We need people in the cellar.”
The next day, Brian quit his office job, and two weeks later, he was unemployed. He couldn’t get ahold of Jeff. Was the job offer real, or the conspiracy of a Zinfandel-induced delirium? Out of luck and options, Brian drove out to Rosenblum Cellars to find Jeff.
“Oh, you’re that kid who keeps calling,” Jeff said when Brian confronted him. “Why don’t you start today?"
The first day, Brian racked and cleaned a row of Zinfandel barrels. He ended the day dirty, exhausted, and absolutely ecstatic. His switch had permanently flipped. He wanted to be a winemaker.
After the ‘02 harvest at Rosenblum, he worked the ‘03 harvest at Isole e Olena, a benchmark, traditional estate in the heart of Tuscany. In the spring, he started winemaking school at Fresno State.
As you would expect, Brian learned how to make wine at Fresno State, but he equally focused on a promising, young viticulturist named Stephanie Sorn. In 2005, Brian graduated a winemaker, and one of his best friends, Mike Sinor, took over as vineyard manager at Margarita Vineyard in Southern Paso Robles.
Mike offered Brian first dibs on his Cabernet Sauvignon, and a year later, Brian and Stephy were married, had twin daughters, and Broadside’s first vintage of Margarita Vineyard Cabernet was aging in (neutral) French oak.
Talk about a wine industry power couple. Today, Stephy is a prominent force for bio-organic viticulture in Paso Robles.
“Stephy has become the area’s great alternative vineyardist,” writes Jon Bonné in his book, The New California Wine, A Guide to the Producers and Wines Behind a Revolution in Taste.
She leads by example, and has steered many growers towards organic and sustainable – both agriculturally and socially – farming and certifications. She was recently nominated for winegrape grower of the year in San Luis Obispo County.
While Stephy is in the vineyards, Brian mans the Broadside cellar, where his minimalist winemaking – native ferments, unobtrusive cellar work, and predominantly neutral oak – focuses on the purity and identity of the Broadside wines’ varietal and vineyard.
The wines themselves have subtly inspired a paradigm-shift in Paso, a wine region most known for heavy-handed, high-octane wines. They’ve also captured the palates of wine critics across the country. Broadside’s Margarita Vineyard Cabernet was included in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Top 100 Wines list of both 2009 and 2012; and also in the New York Times’ 12 Great American Values list in 2012.
Brian and Stephy also own and make the Giornata wines, where they focus on Italian grapes grown in California. The Terrizzis are wine industry trendsetters, and they’re only just getting started.