I first met Brooke Lowry Ide of fledgling winery Vino Bandito Vineyards after a long day this past harvest. A former corporate marketing pro with three new plots in Sonoita-Elgin, Ide told me how she’d just processed four tons of Graciano – by herself. Wow. I needed to know more. One thing is certain: She has a pioneering spirit.
Why did you get into the wine industry?
Desk life was wearing on me, and I needed a change. I also wanted to spend more time with my four kiddos. After a bout of shingles, I decided to quit work and go back to school [at the Yavapai College viticulture program]. I told my husband, “I want to quit work to become a farmer, and I want to farm wine.” He thought I had lost my mind.
Did you work for other winemakers?
During my time at Yavapai, I worked in vineyards in Willcox, Skull Valley, Cornville, Cottonwood, Williams. We built our winery this year and began a relationship with local Sonoita grower Mark Caretto, [who sold us] the majority of our fruit for the 2019 vintage.
Viticulturally speaking, our property sits fairly high in the valley, with good cold drainage [and] excellent soil pH… which we envision to be a vineyard one day. We intend to plant what has done well here so far in other [Sonoita] vineyards, [including] Spanish varietals such as Graciano and Garnacha.
What did you make this year?
I made a Malvasia orange wine, Graciano, Grenache, a [red] blend, Tannat rosé, Tannat red and Cabernet Sauvignon. Aglianico and Mourvèdre are still on their way!
Instagram handle: @vinobandito