Osocalis is a small, artisanal distillery in Soquel, California. The name Osocalis is the original Native American name for Soquel, today part of the greater Santa Cruz area. We use a small (100 gallon) antique alambic Charentais still, imported from Cognac, to produce brandies using grapes and apples from the cooler coastal regions of California. We strive to produce products that have the length, elegance and finesse of Old World brandies, such as Cognac and Calvados, but with the fruit intensity and structure of California wines.
Founded in the early 1990's, Osocalis represents the second generation of small American distillers to use the combination of Old World techniques with New World fruit. The first generation of artisan distillers in California, including Germain-Robin in Ukiah and RMS in Carneros, clearly demonstrated the intensity and richness that can be achieved from brandies derived from California fruit. California brandy makers have the advantage (and the challenge!) of being able to blend a large number of grape varieties together for a more complex and interesting product, whereas French law strictly limits this practice. At Osocalis, our brandy is based primarily on Colombard and Pinot Noir, though we also distill a wide array of wines such as Marsanne, Riesling, Syrah, Grenache, and Semillon. In fact, it is the art of blending these brandies from a variety of fruit sources which gives California brandies their very special style.
Osocalis's small production team is headed by Daniel Farber and Jeff Emery. Distiller Dan Farber has been involved in brandy production since the mid 1980's, studying in Cognac and other brandy producing regions around the world and finally settling near Santa Cruz, California to found the Osocalis Distillery. Winemaker Jeff Emery has been making wines for Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard since 1979, a winery which focuses on wines from small mountain vineyards, with an emphasis on Santa Cruz Mountains Appellation Pinot Noir. Jeff now heads the winemaking team for Osocalis in addition to continuing production at Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard.
While production is growing, the emphasis at Osocalis will always be on optimizing the complex aromas and flavors of fine alambic brandy. This requires the patience to wait many years for proper aging before releasing a given brandy and a commitment to using the finest quality fruit available.