Wine is Elemental: Meeting Kerith Overstreet of Bruliam Wines

Wine is Elemental:  Meeting Kerith Overstreet of Bruliam Wines

bruliam-wines-gaps-crown-vineyard-pinot-noir-sonoma-coast-usa-10588849From MD to BU… that is the path of Kerith Overstreet, owner winemaker of Bruliam Wines.

All delicious bottles from this California producer displays the Bruliam Wines logo, a riff on the Periodic Table of Elements.  The center of the logo bears “Bu”, an amalgam of Kerith’s three children, and a nod to her past career in medical science as an MD.  Their motto: “Wine is elemental”.

We met Kerith Overstreet during her trip to New York last week and learned of her path from medicine to wine, while tasting one of the most elegant Sonoma Pinot Noirs we’ve experienced.  Kerith, a California native, has a some New York in her background.  She graduated from Cornell University in 1994, and then returned to California and her husband, Brian Overstreet.

IMG_1885Together, they shared a love for wine, spending some early days picnicking in Napa Valley.  Kerith, however, was pursuing general surgery and later surgical pathology.  The wine bug never quite disappeared, however, and in 2007, she left her career in medicine to study winemaking at the Department of Viticulture and Enology at The University of California, Davis.

Kerith’s eyes laughed a little when I asked her which was more difficult, medical school or UC Davis.  I suppose medical school is always going to take that prize, but she shared that the rigors of becoming a doctor had made her a good student, and she moved confidently through her winemaking studies.

Unlike medical school, no residency was waiting for Kerith.  She jumped right into it, and in 2008, Kerith and Brian established Bruliam Wines.  Their aim was to cherry pick fruit from top Sonoma County vineyards, producing premium single vineyard  wines.  Their first year saw only a single barrel of wine… today, around 1000 cases per vintage!

We were thrilled to meet Kerith and taste Bruliam Wines during her visit.  Upon reading their Bruliam Wine Blog I was even more grateful.  Kerith wrote: “I was asked to visit some accounts in Westchester County.  My college buddy tried to intercede on my behalf.  She implored my distributor, ‘You don’t understand.  Kerith doesn’t do public transportation.  She will end up in New Jersey.  Or Connecticut.  Or Staten Island.’”

gap's crown 09.10.09Fortunately, Kerith survived the trek to Scarsdale, and we brought the 2012 Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir into Vintology’s selection.  A note about Gap’s Crown Vineyard… it is one of the most sought after vineyards in Sonoma County.  Perched on the edge of Sonoma Mountain in the windy Petaluma Gap, the vineyard cools and drains well, making famous killer fruit.  Kerith has two dedicated blocks yielding about 3 tons of fruit per year, and she’s operated with a bit of sweet bribery!  In 2011, in the face of approaching rain, she encouraged a stretched thin picking crew to harvest her blocks quickly.  Her offer of “cupcakes” got the job done, earning her the nickname “cupcake girl”!

Kerith applies a love for wine and her unique background in science to her winemaking.  The 2012 Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir is aged in 40% new French oak.  It displays a beautiful deep ruby color, and exudes baking spices, cherries and raspberries, and a silty tannin.  We’re happy to see the element “Bu” has been added to Vintology!

Bruliam Wines and more great selections are at

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