Chik Brenneman, winemaker for Baker Family Wines, believes that if ‘you aren’t going to make good wine, why bother?’ Chik started out as a home-brewer in the mid 1980’s. He never even ventured in to wine, until he met his wife Polly in 1987, who interested him at first, with Champagne. It was the ‘bubbles’ that won him over and the rest is history. He started making wine at home. This is when things got serious!
A bad day at his job as a Clinical Lab Scientist pushed him over the edge. He looked into the degree program at the Department of Viticulture and Enology’s winemaking program at UC Davis. The school is widely known for driving innovation in grape growing and winemaking internationally, as well as producing some of the best winemakers in the world. Chik graduated from UC Davis with a Master’s degree in 1998. Upon graduation, he went to work for a small boutique winery in Amador County California. The winery was Amador Foothill Winery. A small winery dedicated to quality and this is where he found his passion and the signature statement. Chik went on to Terre Rouge Easton Winery, where he learned about making Rhone varieties. Chik then worked as a Production Lab Manager at Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi and that is where he met Dusty.
Today, Chik is the Department of Viticulture and Enology’s Winemaker at UC Davis. At the university, in addition to his role as staff winemaker he has the opportunity to lead student trips to the winemaking regions of France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. He loves listening to local winery owners’ passionate stories about how their wineries have been handed down for generations and their love for winemaking.
In his free time, he writes for Winemaker’s Magazine (www.winemakermag.com). the magazine is popular with home winemakers. Its a way of giving back to his friends who strive to also make the best wine.
Chik is the Commander of the Chancellery Chapter of the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine (www.kov.org). This organization is a wine Brotherhood of amateurs and professional winemakers, as well as simple lover’s of wine, who gather, enjoy a glass, good food, friends, and donate any proceeds of the Brotherhood’s events to local scholarship programs in viticulture and enology.
At Baker Family Wines, Chik ensures that every handcrafted wine we make is of the highest quality and will absolutely delight our customers.