Bios

Vic Bourassa , Proprietor

Growing up in Worcester, Massachusetts, Victor Bourassa learned winemaking from one of his Italian-immigrant grandfathers and inherited an entrepeneurial spirit from the other. The former made wine from grapes that he purchased at street markets; the latter built a grocery store from the ground up. Vic’s father eventually ran the store, operated a gas station and worked as a contractor-builder. Along the way, Vic learned to appreciate the value of hard work, optimism, integrity and tradition.

After serving in the Navy in Vietnam, Vic moved to Southern California. He earned his commercial pilot’s license from Orange Coast College, then made a career out of working in real estate and start-up companies. He visited the Napa Valley for the first time in the early 1980s and moved there permanently in 1996. He worked in a couple of wineries, took wine-related classes at UC Davis and Napa Valley College, and became an avid home winemaker and president of the Napa Valley Home Winemakers Association.

Then, in 1999, lightning struck. Vic recalls the bolt out of the blue.

Robert Mondavi came to my house, introduced by a friend. We sat down in my backyard with some bruschetta and a bottle of 1998 Pinot Noir. I had made the wine in a funky little hand press. I bottled it that day and a made a label on my computer. So there we were, Robert Mondavi and I, drinking my wine and eating bruschetta.

“I had a glass, and he had one. Then, he had another…and another. After he finished the bottle, he declared that I should be making wine commercially. When I said I thought it was too late to start, he told me that he hadn’t begun until he was 52, and look what he’d accomplished. He basically took away my excuse – at 50 years of age.”

In October 2003 Vic released his first commercial vintage, the 2001 Bourassa Harmony3, a complex Bordeaux-style blend made from valley-floor Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and Howell Mountain Cabernet Franc.

Today Vic continues to grow Bourassa Vineyards while raising a glass to toast his straightforward philosophy: Celebrate life!

 

Gary Galleron, Winemaker

Gary Galleron grew up playing in the vineyards along Galleron Road, the street named for his French-immigrant grandparents who settled in the Napa Valley in 1918. He has worked in the family vineyards since he was a child, learning every aspect of the wine industry literally from the ground up.

Later attending and graduating from Cal State University Fresno with a degree in viticulture and enology in 1976, Gary went to work with Mike Grgich at Chateau Montelena gaining invaluable experience.  Since then, he has produced award-winning wines for some of the most prestigious wineries in the valley, including Whitehall Lane, Grace Family, Hartwell, Vineyard 29, Del Dotto Vineyards, Seavey and William Harrison Vineyards.

Gary’s passion for his work (“It’s not my job, it’s my life.") has led him to seek out the best grapes from the finest vineyards in the Napa Valley.  He remains a hands-on artisan who is among the Valley’s most respected winemakers. Soft-spoken and more inclined to talk about the value of high quality fruit than of winemaker wisdom, Gary continues crafting award winning wines for Bourassa Vineyards.


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