Sonoma County region
A very boutique, family-owned winery, hand-crafted wines from Sonoma and Napa regions
When Terin Amoroso and Bryan Ignozzi first met in 2000, they soon realized they had more in common than they first realized. Terin was a Chicago native who held a degree from Northwestern University and Bryan held a master’s degree from the formidable Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Both individuals considered themselves consultants in various industries and were both heavily into a truly bonding pastime - love of the almighty grape.
“I was exposed to wine very early in life,” exclaimed Terin Ignozzi. “My family used to make wine in our basement using whatever fruit they could find. Some years, it was excellent, some years it was simply vinegar. Bryan’s family was basically the same, with an old Italian family tradition of drinking wine with every meal. When I got a job waiting tables in college, I took a sip of a really good wine and I was hooked for the rest of my life.”
After their marriage, the couple continued their wine affair and moved to California in 2007. They wanted a change in life and career direction and felt that wine-loving California was the place to be.
After carefully testing the waters and learning as much as possible about the wine industry, the Ignozzis decided to enter the boutique wine arena with their own product. Bryter (pronounced Bright-er) Estates is the obvious combination of the couple’s two first names. The first release of a minuscule 200 cases came in 2010, nearly equal amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Needless to say, the first edition of Bryter Estates met with a great deal of critical praise. Bryter Estates began making its home in the lively town of Sonoma and continued making great wines.
“After a few years,” remarked Bryan Ignozzi, “we came to realize that we wanted to be located in Napa Valley, the heart and soul of the wine industry in California. Even though the decision to move involved a good deal more expense, we thought our wines were good enough to compete at the high Napa Valley level. It’s a decision we are happy we made.”
Today, Bryter Estates enjoys long term relationships with a number of highest quality vineyards, both in Napa Valley and elsewhere. They belong to a far-reaching (and ever-expanding) group of vintners who believe that grape quality is where you find it and have the scores and medals to prove their assertion is justified.
Bryter Estates’ style is “completely French in fact and nature,” according to Terin Ignozzi. “We both love old French wines and the softness they provide on the palate. We don’t want our wines to be over-oaked or extremely high in alcohol. I guess the perfect descriptor would be graceful, a combination of Old World and New.”
To that end, Bryan Ignozzi has carefully crafted an imposing turn-of-the-century feel to the Bryter Estates label. “We use a French Blue color and a font we found in an old French newspaper that dated back to the early 1900’s. We clipped out the letters to create the desired effect.”
Bryan Ignozzi also explained that the four medallions on the label represent a spark (Ignozzi loosely translates to ignition in Italian, hence the spark), wine, food and art. “All these elements are necessary for our wines and we are simply paying tribute to all of them,” Ignozzi concluded.
Bryter Estates’ winemaker, Kari Auringer, is also from Chicago and an important cog in the winery’s rise to stardom. Trained at both Napa Valley College and later, UC Davis, Kari is a hands-on winemaker who worked under Celia Welch, the iconic Napa Valley winemaker. She is the ultimate team player according to the Ignozzis who point to her long-time quote on her profession: “As I look back on a career that has included helping create several highly regarded cult wines, making great wine is a team sport, and I’ve been on some fantastic teams,” Auringer declared.
In 2016, Bryter Estates opened a new tasting facility in downtown Napa City (appointments only) next to Oxbow Public Market that has proven to be extremely successful. Both Bryan and Terin Ignozzi are, in their words, “super happy with Napa,” and their accumulated successes.
High quality boutique wineries such as Bryter Estates are an integral part of the California wine experience. They choose to remain small and control their destiny and stay focused on their primary goal - making really great wine.
It is our pleasure to introduce this hidden gem of a winery to our Diamond Wine Club members. Enjoy the experience of Bryter Estates!