Head Wine-Grape Grower
When Mike’s father, Jack Carhartt, bought Rancho Santa Ynez in the early 50’s, Mike was a young child. Mike was born in Pasadena, Ca., but after coming up to the ranch several times with his dad on weekends, he decided one day that he would not make the trip back down south. He was in turn “raised” by the ranch hands on the property, who filled his youth with hard lessons in farming and cowboying. From pulling a disk plow, to saddling up his buckskin horse, to driving big rig truck and trailers, Mike grew up doing what he loved. He continues to do so today by farming grapes and working his own land, or “living the dream” as he likes to say. The 2016 harvest marked Mike and Carhartt Vineyards 20th year in the grape-growing business.
Brooke was born in Pasadena, Ca., and after high school, attended the University of California San Diego and Santa Barbara, followed by completing a Masters Degree in Psychology from Chapman University. She has no formal education in winemaking, but rather received her training from veteran winemaker friends, hard work, and personal study. She is a self-made winemaker, and the creator of Carhartt Vineyard’s signature style. Alongside her husband Mike, she crafted their first vintage in the fall of 1998, one barrel each of Merlot and Syrah. The 2018 vintage will mark her 20th year in the winemaking business.
Chase was born and raised in the Santa Ynez Valley. He grew up on Rancho Santa Ynez as the third generation in a family farming operation. After high school, he attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he received a Bachelors Degree in Enology (Winemaking). For the last eight years, Chase has traveled the world making wine in different countries, pursuing fresh ideas and methods for the growth of the Carhartt Vineyard brand. In 2013, he stepped in as co-winemaker with his mom, Brooke. In the Spring of 2016, he released a second label for Carhartt Vineyard, “Carhartt Venture,” reflecting his experiences and innovations from traveling the globe.
Rancho Santa Ynez, Family owned and operated since the early 1950s.
Located in the beautiful and rugged hills north of Santa Barbara, California, Mike Carhartt grew up raising cattle and horses on the historic family ranch. Years later, he and his wife Brooke planted a vineyard along with a dream. Today, with their son Chase, the Carhartts grow grapes and craft wines on that same patch of ground. The principles that guided their great grandfather, Hamilton Carhartt 125 years ago, are still alive and strong in their ground to glass approach to winemaking.
A ground to glass operation.
The Carhartts take extreme pride in farming their own fruit sustainably and with the utmost care and consideration for the environment. Any top drawer grape grower or winemaker will agree that 80% or more of winemaking begins in the vineyard.
The Carhartt Connection.
Carhartt Clothing was founded in 1889 by Mike’s great grandfather, Hamilton Carhartt. Its headquarters was, and still is, in Dearborn, Michigan. Originally the company was founded to supply railroad workers with quality overalls, or union suits, as they were often called. Over 125 years later, they not only have expanded to the most trusted work wear clothing line in the United States, but also the largest American-made work wear manufacturer. Mike’s cousin still runs the company today. Although Carhartt Clothing and Carhartt Vineyard are separate, family-owned businesses, they exist in a symbiotic relationship: we wear the clothes every day in California, and they drink our wine in Michigan.