A series of brilliant mistakes, as Stacy Reinert would put it, brought her and John Reinert together in 2009. They wanted to get to know each other, without any distractions, so they started to visit the Napa Valley on weekends. Their dreams and aspirations of living the “Napa Valley lifestyle” have come to fruition beyond their wildest imaginations.
“Napa is a great place to become inspired,” said John. “It’s a very romantic place, so beautiful, almost Zen-like, and over a glass of wine, an amazing meal, and conversation you can fall in love…or decide to start a winery.”
Napa was the romantic place that teased their culinary palate and their love of wine. Stacy is a big foodie, with a love of cooking and enjoying meals with family and friends. John is a self-professed wine geek, inspired by the stories of the Napa vintners he has come to know. The pair started attending Napa Valley events and ensconced themselves in the food and wine scene. In 2011, they got married in Napa Valley, and bought their second home in Yountville in 2015.
“We inspire each other to take risks,” said John. “As I began to learn more about Napa Valley wine, I knew that I wanted to make an artisan style, boutique wine, and Stacy said go for it. I truly believe a person’s worth is often measured by the risks they take in life.”
John met winemaker Maayan Kotschitzky, who was the former assistant winemaker for the cult wine, Screaming Eagle and is currently the Director of Winemaking at Philippe Melka’s Atelier Melka.
“We were Maayan’s first side project, and we have since become like brothers,” said John. “I have learned a lot from him, both in wine and in life.”
They named their winery Brilliant Mistake because it resonated with John and Stacy about how some of the best things that have happened to them, have happened unexpectedly. As Stacy says, “some of the best things in life are those unexpected brilliant mistakes.” Their first vintage, a 2013 Bordeaux-style Cabernet, was released in 2015 and sold out immediately, and they have sold out of each vintage since. In 2016, they added a Sauvignon Blanc to their portfolio, and that too sold out immediately. They had planned to grow the brand slowly, but a tasting arranged by friends Monica and David Stevens of 750 Wines, introduced John and Stacy to wine lovers Steve and Sonia Greenbaum and wine buying legend Lawrence “Doc” Cohen. In 2018, Steve, Sonia and Doc decided to form a partnership with John and Stacy, and invested in one of Napa’s newest cult wine labels. They now produce 350 cases of both Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. This vintage they plan to harvest grapes for a 55 case reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, called The Poet & The Muse by Brilliant Mistake Wines.
At the 2017 Premiere Napa Valley (PNV) Auction, their five-case auction lot of 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon sold for $30,000/$500 per bottle in the live auction, number 22 out of 250+ wineries.
“Thinking we wouldn’t be able to repeat that success the next year, we entered a five-case lot in the online auction, and that lot went for $17,500/$283 per bottle at PNV 2018, which is a record for an online lot at PNV,” said John.
Their five-year goal is to increase production to 1,000 cases, and possibly open a high end tasting room in Yountville or St Helena.
We can’t wait see what other “brilliant mistakes” come their way.