Biography

Brad Alderson shares and continues to promote the late Robert Mondavi’s vision for producing wines of style, personality and quality that would stand with great wines of the world.  His focus for the last 35 years has been to accomplish this first as the founding winemaker of Robert Mondavi’s Woodbridge Winery and then as a Vice President and General Manager for Robert Mondavi. After leaving Woodbridge at the end of harvest in 2007 he is now working as an advisor on wines, winemaking and winery operations for wineries both in Lodi and in other wine regions.

Brad began his winemaking career after graduation from the University of California at Davis with degrees in Chemistry and Food Biochemistry with a focus on Enology. At the University he had the privilege to study under Drs. Maynard Amerine, Vernon Singleton, Dinsmoor Webb and James Guymon, the academic founders of the Davis winemaking program. These California wine industry pioneers ignited his passion for making great wines as well as giving him the scientific and professional tools to make great wines.

 

His first winemaking position was at the A. Perelli-Minetti & Sons Winery in Delano, California where he met and married his wife Sandra Perelli-Minetti and started his family. In 1975 he moved to Lodi to be winemaker at the Montcalm winery. In 1978 the Robert Mondavi family acquired the Montcalm winery and it was renamed Woodbridge Winery. The Robert Mondavi family working with Brad, developed what is now known as Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi.  “Our goal,” says Brad, “was to produce great wines that could be enjoyed everyday, wines with depth of personality and style that captured and retained people’s interest.” The success of Woodbridge, a winery that grew from nothing to the nation’s leading wine brand and then stayed as a leader over three decades, proved the power of this vision. Working with Robert, Michael, and Tim for over 30 years gave him tremendous opportunity, resources and the encouragement to participate in making great wines all over California and the world.

           

Brad also recognized the potential of the Lodi region for growing premium grapes and producing excellent wines.  He authored the petition for establishing the Lodi appellation, and in 1986, Lodi was recognized as one of the first American Viticultural Areas (AVA) in California. 

 

An excellent innovator who is always striving to improve quality, Brad developed the “small lot” program at Woodbridge in 1983.  This program enabled a grower to taste wine from his own vineyard, and together with the Woodbridge winemaking staff, evaluate winegrowing techniques that would contribute to higher quality.  When Woodbridge growers began sharing and comparing vineyard practices, they instituted the Quality Enhancement Team (QET).  Brad involved these growers in wine tastings, seminars, world wide travel, and viticultural research projects aimed at constantly enhancing grape quality.

           

Brad has also received a Masters in Business Administration from Pepperdine University. He has served as board member and President of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) and during his tenure he co-founded the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium with Robert Hartzell and Richard Peterson. He also has been President of the Lodi District Vintners Association. He belongs to the American Wine Society, the Society of Wine Educators and the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine. He serves as a judge and panelist in numerous U.S. wine competitions, including the California State Fair.  In 2004 he was named “Agribusiness Person of the Year” by the Lodi Chamber of Commerce for his dedication to the region’s agricultural success. In 2008 he received the Lodi Winegrape Commission’s Award of Merit for his service to the Lodi wine community.

 
 
 
 
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