Eat, Drink And Be indie: Tasty Recipes, Inspiring Maker Stories & Exclusives

Donkey & Goat

When Jared and Tracey Brandt left their tech jobs in the Bay Area to make wine, they first traveled to France (Charnay to be exact) to train with natural winemaker Eric Texier. There they found their passion for natural wines and artisanal production methods. 

In 2004, they founded Donkey & Goat in Berkeley, California. As an urban winery, they work with a handful of select growers from the Sierra Nevada, Mendocino and Napa – all committed to to some form of sustainable, organic and/or biodynamic farming practices. The Brandts’ natural wine ethos is based on simplicity. They only use wild or native yeasts, age and ferment most of their wines in neutral wood barrels (no plastic bins) and bottle without stabilization, filtering or fining. They also press grapes the Roman way, channeling their inner Lucille with foot stomping and persistence.

Whether it’s their funky pét-nats or Rhone blends, they insist on flavor, aroma and texture over clarity, allowing the grapes and soil to do their thing. They like skin contact for many of their whites and the influence of whole cluster pressing for many of their reds. Some of their wines may look cloudy in the glass as they don’t filter or fine, but believe us: it’s exceptional juice!