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Gold Medal Wine Club
5330 Debbie Road, Suite 200
Santa Barbara, California 93111
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Welcome to Gold Medal Wine Club. America's Leading Independent Wine Club since 1992. Celebrating 20+ Years!
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Presidio Winery - San Diego County

Presidio Winery produces mostly Pinot Noir, Merlot and Chardonnay.

“The key is having control over the vineyard,” owner/winemaker, Doug Braun starts to explain. “You use the varietals best suited for the area and keep a tight handle on how the fruit is grown,” he adds. That guiding philosophy is what brought Doug to Santa Barbara County to make ultra-premium Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Merlot. “This area is perfect for these varietals,” he says convincingly.

Indeed, most winemakers will agree that the county’s Santa Maria Valley with its unique geographical location creates an ideal climate for Burgundian varietals. It is the only location in California where the mountains run in an east-west direction. This allows the cool marine influence to enter into the valley, keeping temperatures cooler in the summer and warmer in the fall. A little bit to the south, the warmer more traditional topography of the Santa Ynez Valley is ideal for Bordeaux varietals such as Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc.
Doug was certainly not the first to “discover” Santa Barbara County’s huge grape growing potential. However, as recent as the early 1990’s when Doug arrived, Santa Barbara was still considered a new frontier, unproven and untested. “What I saw back then was outstanding fruit quality in particular areas with specific varietals,” he recalls. “It was still a gamble, but I was willing to go for it.”

You know what they say about the proverbial rising tide—you can’t stop it. Once Doug and the 20 or so other pioneer wineries in the county began to serve up world-class wines to amazed wine enthusiasts, the “others” started flooding in. In 1990 there were just 5,000 acres planted to wine grapes, now it’s close to 20,000 acres.
In 1992 Doug Braun went for it. He first negotiated a flat-fee contract with grape growers that allowed him to manage the blocks of vineyard from where he wanted fruit. “That way I could prune, thin the crop, canopy, do whatever I wanted in order to improve the quality of the fruit, without regard to volume,” he says. He then leased facilities at a nearby winery and began his venture into the winery business.

“The name Presidio came about because we wanted to pay tribute to the historical link between wine and the Spanish culture. The Spanish were the first to introduce the European varieties to this country as they moved up the California coast building presidios along the way. They brought agriculture light years forward and they don’t get enough credit for it,” Doug asserts.

Presidio Winery has worked its way up to a respectable 14,000 case annual production, producing mostly Pinot Noir, Merlot and Chardonnay. For years you could only find their wines in San Diego County (“I went to school down there,” Doug says with a smile.) Selling primarily to restaurants, they gradually sold their way up the coast back to Santa Barbara and beyond. Even today their sales are 85% directly to restaurants, the rest goes to select California wine shops who understand the Presidio philosophy and know the quality behind the label.
Doug is now taking the next logical progression as an up and coming winemaker with a successful label behind him. He recently purchased 100 acres to develop his own vineyards and expects to build a full-fledged winery on the property with a year or two. “Our size has always been and always will be a function of the quality of fruit available,” Doug states. “There is only a limited supply of good quality fruit and we hope to increase that with our own vineyard.”

Doug Braun’s entire career seems linked to a series of natural progressions similar to his recent step into vineyard ownership. Born and raised in San Diego, he started working in a restaurant at the age of 15. He began by washing dishes then worked his way up the ranks, gradually becoming a restaurant manager by the age of 20. “I loved the restaurant business. That’s probably why our marketing approach has been primarily to restaurants,” he says.

Logically, his restaurant experience led him into a Food Service Management degree at nearby Grossmont College. He was introduced to the world of fine wine as his work experience broadened into Sommelier and wine buying duties at various restaurants in California and Hawaii. Then another natural progression. “My interest level in wine was too high to remain at a restaurant any longer,” explains Doug. In 1983, he enrolled at Fresno State to study enology. And from there he continued his path to U.C. Davis to study viticulture. While at Fresno and Davis he worked at several wineries to gain the necessary practical experience. By 1992 he was ready to do his own thing in his own way, and started Presidio Winery.

Dear Platinum Series Wine Club Members,

It is with great pleasure that I share with you our 1997 Presidio Pinot Noir from the Mission Vineyard. Hand picked in early September, this wine was fermented in open top fermenters and punched down four times daily, giving maximum extraction from the skins. After pressing, we age the wine in small French oak barrels (Alliers and Vosges) for approximately 13 months and bottle it unfined and unfiltered. This optimizes the fruit components of the wine developing strong aromatics and varietal character.
My desire is to create wines of exceptional quality and value by tailoring the production process to bring out the unique qualities of each of our grape varietals; Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Merlot. By maintaining a ‘hands on approach to grape growing and winemaking, we at Presidio Winery have been able to continue our tradition of making premium wines reflecting the best of Santa Barbara County viticultural and winemaking practices. I hope that you enjoy this Pinot Noir as much as I enjoyed making it for you. I invite you to visit our website at to learn more about Presidio Winery and the beautiful Santa Barbara wine region.

Cheers! Douglas A. Braun, Presidio Winemaker