Resurrection – The Rebirth Of Brookside Winery

Monday, December 6th, 2010 | Posted by Tom Plant

“After 27 years, we’re back. Remember us?” asks Tim Bacino. Brookside Winery closed its doors 27 years ago, after at one time holding court as the 14th largest winery in the nation. At its peak, Brookside had 36 retail stores selling wine, cheese and deli items and offering wine tastings. They had 150 labels, producing everything from table wines to cooking wines, sparkling wines, altar wines and brandies. Beatrice Foods bought Brookside in 1972 and ten years later sold it, for a time closing the chapter on the Brookside story.

Tim Bacino is part of the 6th generation of the family. His ancestor Theophile Vache established a winery in Hollister in 1832, before eventually moving the operation south to the Rancho Cucamonga area. When he turned 40, Tim couldn’t resist the urge any longer. Nearly two centuries of winemaking history has a powerful pull. He’s collected wine as long as he can remember and he loves to cook and pair wines with the meals he prepares. “It was kind of like a calling.” So, a few years ago, he sat down with his uncle René Biane to learn even more about his family’s legacy and ask his advice about re-launching the brand.

Tim began spreading the word that Brookside was coming back. He learned what a huge following the label had. He still gets an average of an email a week from people telling him they found an old bottle of Brookside wine and asking him if it’s still good. They also love to share their stories and their favorites, wondering if he’ll bring back the ones that bring them fond memories. “These are huge shoes to fill.”

It’s been heartwarming for him to see the reception he’s getting from those in the industry. He says they all want to know what they can do to help. The reputation his ancestors put in place has helped open doors that otherwise would have been locked tight. Not only is Tim looking forward to bringing back Brookside, he wants to share the family story and romance. Initially Brookside will be sourcing all of its fruit to make its wine, but eventually he plans on planting vineyards and opening a tasting room. With today’s economy, quality fruit is readily available and it doesn’t make sense to plant vineyards… yet.

Brookside will relaunch with two labels: their premium Generation 7 line featuring a 2005 Vintner’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, a 2009 Library Viognier, selected to be poured January 27, 2011 in New York City at the reception dinner at the James Beard Foundation and the 2008 Reserve Road To Zanzibar Zinfandel blend. I had the opportunity to taste these wines with Tim and they are showing beautifully. He chose the Generation 7 name because his seven year old daughter  Gabriella is a part of the 7th generation of Brookside. There will also be a consumer driven line under the Brookside Winery label Featuring Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Syrah. Future plans include Muscat Canneli as they try to recreate Golden Rose.

Tim’s goal is to produce food friendly wines and believes a good wine should be made to accompany a meal. Older brother Matthew holds a degree in enology and one day Tim hopes the company is able to afford to pay the “lab geek’s” salary. Look for the wines on the Brookside website in the very near future. They will also be doing tastings at area restaurants and wine shops. I for one am excited at the prospects.

Gabriella, Susanne' and Tim Bacino

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Comments

  1. Henry Gans says: January 11, 2011

    I lived in Upland in the late 80′s. I used to enjoy Rose suave from Brookside winery in Guasti, CA. It had a wooden keg taste. Would like to find it or one very similar. Would appreciate any suggestions.

  2. Tom Plant says: January 16, 2011

    Hi Henry. I’ll share this with owner Tim Bacino. I don’t think they plan to bring it back, but you can ask him.

  3. Phillip Prado says: January 7, 2012

    I drove by Brookside Winery in Guasti its kind of sad to see how it looks today. My dad worked thier for a lot of years, I’d say from the 50s till when they closed. I have a lot of memories of being with my dad, just hanging out with him in the little park they had in front of the tasting room.

  4. Tom Plant says: January 9, 2012

    Hi Phillip. As you probably noticed, the old winery has closed its doors. New owner Tim Bacino has resurrected the Brookside label and is a 6th generation Brookside family member. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Cara Jo Barendregt says: October 29, 2012

    Will you please bring back BLACK VELVET red wine. It was a sweet wine and we would like to be able to enjoy it again. Thank you so much for starting the winery again. All the wines we ever tasted were wonderful. Sincerely, Cara Jo

  6. Tom Plant says: October 30, 2012

    Hi Cara – I will pass this on to Tim Bacino, owner of Brookside. Thanks.

  7. Karla McIntosh says: November 18, 2012

    My taste buds were educated by the Bonita, California Brookside Winery. I was heartbroken when they closed their doors. I’ve drank very little wine since, and what I have drank has always been measured against the wines I tasted there. Black Velvet was a Wonderful red, nothing has ever compared. Golden Rose, light, fruity, effervescent sweet white wine perfect for Thanksgiving Dinner! Not a year ever goes by Golden Rose isn’t mentioned, nothing has ever compared and no wine ever graced my Thanksgiving table since.
    I’ve lond since moved from California, however if your family brings back these wines, I will drive back to California to buy and bring them home! PLEASE!!

  8. Tom Plant says: November 18, 2012

    Hi Karla. Thanks so much. So many people have recounted fond memories of the old Brookside Winery. I’ll forward your comments to owner Tim Bacino.

  9. Teresa Thompson says: December 28, 2012

    My first date with my husband was at Brookside Winery in the mid 70′s. He knew everyone who worked there, and I was so impressed with how he ordered the tasting! We used to stop on our way to the river and get wine for the week!! Fours years later, we got married at was once called ‘The Guasti Mansion’ and served Brookside wines. That party had no beginning and no end. The photographer even stayed! No one had heard of it, and we found out about it by chance. Everyone still comments on that place. My relatives played bocce on the front lawn. It was a memorable celebration – nearly 33 years ago. I hope it resurrects for future weddings and events!

  10. Tom Plant says: January 18, 2013

    So many people are sharing their fond memories of Brookside Winery. Thanks for sharing yours.

  11. Michael Bushbaum says: March 6, 2013

    Back in the 70′s there was a Brookside Winery in West Dundee, Illinois & I found a wine called Fiesta Blanco…..yummy. Was that store a part of your winery’s?? It closed about the same timeline as what I see the California winery did. We would buy Fiesta Blanco by the case weekly!! I really miss that wine…please tell me you are making it once more.

  12. Tom Plant says: March 10, 2013

    I don’t believe there was an affiliation. Tim Bacino the current owner should know.

  13. Mary Jane McCane says: March 13, 2013

    Back in the late 60s and early 70, we had a friend who was either related to or knew the owners of the winery. She would visit once a year and bring us four bottles of Black Velvet and four bottles of Golden Rose back to Savannah, GA when she returned. I would nurse those until she made another visit. Please bring these back and if they are already available, let me know how I may obtain them. Thanks for the memories.

  14. Connie says: April 3, 2013

    Loved Black Velvet and Golden Rose, please bring them back. Everytime I would visit my sister-in-law in Ontario, CA I would buy some to bring home.

  15. Tom Plant says: April 11, 2013

    Hi Connie. Thanks. I’ll pass your comments on to owner Tim Bacino.

  16. Robert E. Stalling says: April 26, 2013

    I received my wine education from three very knowledgeable individuals, Bob, Ted, Debbie at Brookside Winery in Marina Del Rey early 1970′s. I would love to walk into Brookside, and see them again and talk wine. It was my place to get away to. Keep me posted!!

  17. Bill Loskutoff says: May 2, 2013

    Bought a wooden corkscrew opener way back when Brookside was in operation. It lasted all these years, until it went missing last year.
    Can’t find another one.
    Brookside – where are you now that I need you!?

  18. Tom Plant says: May 8, 2013

    So many people have such fond memories of Brookside. Thank you for sharing yours.

  19. Walter rodgers says: May 14, 2013

    Lived in San Pedro in1974,used to buy and taste brookside ,great wine down where they now call it Ports of Call..great memories

  20. Tom Plant says: May 19, 2013

    Hi Walter. This story has generated more responses than almost anything else I have published. So many people have such fond memories of Brookside.

  21. I. Hunter says: May 23, 2013

    I used to go there in the 60′s and I have a bottle of their Chocolate wine from that time.

  22. Vance R Backert says: August 24, 2013

    Quite a story. I am very glad you made the decision to keep the tradition going. I wish you well.

  23. Tom Plant says: August 26, 2013

    Tim Bacino is doing a great job of keeping the tradition alive.

  24. Ian Fox says: August 29, 2013

    I have an unopened bottle of black velvet pretty old but no date seems to be on it, is anyone interested in this?

  25. Tom Plant says: August 31, 2013

    Wow, sounds like a treasure, Ian. How have you kept it stored?

  26. Sheryl Thompson says: September 6, 2013

    Congratulations upon re-opening Brookside Winery. Black Velvet & Golden Rose are absolutely fantastic. If you decide to sell them, please contact us. We live in Tucson, AZ but are more than willing to drive to CA to purchase these wines. Sincerely, Sheryl Thompson.

  27. Tom Plant says: September 13, 2013

    Hi Sheryl. I’m sorry, but I don’t think they’ll be bringing those wines back.

  28. Alice J. Capen says: October 19, 2013

    Is this the same Brookside that owned the Brookside Winery in Rancho Cordova, CA? It had also closed down and is now a business park.

  29. bill king says: October 28, 2013

    I used to buy the best Grenach Rose from Brookside winery when you were in Dana Point in the late 70s & early 80s Do you still produce it & if so,
    where gan I get it. I used to buy in gallon jugs. Do you ship ? Thanks Bill King

  30. Tom Plant says: October 31, 2013

    I don’t believe they do. Contact owner Tim Bacino at Gen 7 wines.

  31. Tom Plant says: October 31, 2013

    It’s the same one, yes.

  32. Bev Henry says: January 12, 2014

    So glad you are coming back. We were back then’ “river rats”and always stopped for HAUTE SATURN. What a great wine and fun times . Thanks for the memories.

  33. Tom Plant says: January 19, 2014

    Thank you so much, Bev.

  34. Lynda Chounard says: February 24, 2014

    I was thrilled to hear about the re-opening of Brookside.
    I really hope that we will be able to order Black Velvet.
    Please don’t say it will not be coming back! I loved that
    wine. There is no other like it!!!!!!

  35. Micky says: March 21, 2014

    Hi Tom, please put in another plug to the owner to revive Black Velvet. My sisters and I would drive an hour and a half to get some wine back in the 80′s. We’ve never found anything that comes close to it. I can’t wait to tell my sisters that the winery will be opening again. I hope you can hear the cheers coming from Northern Calif. It will be a 8 hour drive now, but one that I am totally looking forward to!!! Take care,
    Micky

  36. Tom Plant says: March 23, 2014

    Black Velvet is back with a new name – Noir de Noir.

  37. Tom Plant says: March 23, 2014

    See the comment below. It’s back and now called Noir de Noir.

  38. Steve Brainard says: September 20, 2014

    We would go to the Brookside Wine store in Bonita, CA. The building is still there but is now a bicycle store. But, my reason for writing is to see if Brookside, GEN7, has any plans to produce a varietal called Malvasia Bianca. When Brookside was around, it was my dad’s favorite. We even were told that a San Diego high end restaurant, Atlantis, served it as their house white wine. Excellent wine. I hope they consider it.

  39. Tom Plant says: September 23, 2014

    Hi Steve. Thanks for your comments. Owner Tim Bacino listens to all the suggestions made here. Cougar Winery in Temecula produces a Malvasia Bianca. You may want to give it a try.

  40. Sherry Stock says: September 29, 2014

    I would love for you to bring back Black Velvet wine. My obstritician prescribed it 39 years ago during my pregnancy. Now that I suffer with Congestive Heart Failure my Dr wants me to drink a glass of wine at night. I only like Black Velvet and although I live in T-Mobile I would gladly order it online and pay to have it shipped.

  41. Tom Plant says: September 29, 2014

    Hi Sherry. By popular demand they have brought it back. It’s now called Noir de Noir. Check gen7wines.com to see if it’s available online.

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