Few winemakers can currently speak, from experience, to best practices encompassing almost five decades in the industry - Brad Warner is one of them. He has been a fixture in the Napa Valley for more than 50 years and counting, inconspicuously advising colleagues on everything from wine quality to cellar sanitation.
Brad began his career humbly in the cellar at Charles Krug Winery in 1967, and not long afterward, joined the then fairly new Robert Mondavi Winery, where he carved out a distinguished and respected run of almost 30 years at the height of California’s emergence onto the fine wine scene. He served as Mondavi's Vice President of Production, and then Director of Property & Facilities, overseeing the expansion of Mondavi's operations, including the layout and operation of both Woodbridge and Opus One wineries.
Over the course of 8 years, Brad also made several visits to Burgundy and Bordeaux, France to learn first-hand, traditional French methods of winemaking and cellar operations. The lessons he learned there, along with his experience under Mondavi, gave him a solid foundation from which to craft wines and direct operations. They also molded his work ethic and advocacy for the industry. Hard work, best practices, quality, integrity and comaraderie are his hallmarks, all quickly apparent to anyone who deals with him.
After Brad's time at Mondavi, he became the Winemaker & Director of Operations at Sawyer Cellars, and then Winemaker & General Manager at Foley Johnson Winery.
Never one to slow down, and recognizing the need for a winery equipment resource in Napa Valley, Brad established Rutherford Equipment Rental in 1991, much to the delight of his colleagues. It was the Valley's first commercial winery equipment rental company, and today, it is a trusted and dependable partner for countless wineries throughout the Valley and beyond.
In 2008, Brad and his wife Lisa, fulfilled the dream of having their own wine brand in establishing Leto Cellars. Working with small, family-owned vineyards throughout Napa Valley, they craft limited production, single vineyard wines that stay true to what each vintage and terroir has to offer.
In 2016, Brad purchased Transition Equipment Company from long-time operator Vickie Mastbaum and also established Warner Winery Consulting.