- California, United States
The Bacchus label was created by David Gordon, one of New York’s first recognized sommeliers, and the person responsible for the Wine Spectator Grand Award winning wine list (winning multiple times) at Manhattan’s famed Tribeca Grill restaurant. Gordon, who is self-taught, began learning about wine in the 1980s just as Kevin Zraly was beginning to educate America on the world of wine. At the time, there were very few non-French somms working in the city and the British-born Court of Master Sommeliers was in its infancy.
“You had to pick up a book or magazine to learn about wine,” says Gordon. There were no YouTubes or Google or extensive training programs. As he watched the dining landscape quickly changing he saw an opportunity to set Tribeca Grill apart with a unique list- built to compliment the menu. The list now boasts over 1800 selections including verticals of some of the most sought-after producers, a reality because of Gordon’s foresight for buying wines to cellar until they came of age.
While he tasted and learned about the best wines on the planet, which included expensive Burgundies and Rhone wines, Gordon always kept the consumer top of mind. “House” Cab and Chard were big sellers at the restaurant, so he set out to meet that demand with a genuine product that would deliver consistent quality.
“I started Bacchus as a fun, cool thing to do,” says Gordon. “There really weren't any wines associated with sommeliers at the time. Now there are many, but
Bacchus was definitely one of the first."
In the beginning, Gordon sourced the wines from his friends in Napa and Sonoma. Producers such as Caymus, Lewis Cellars, and Miner Family provided grapes and helped with the winemaking for the early cuvées. The first Chardonnay vintage was 1992, released in 1994. Today, Bacchus is sourced from a producer who doesn't want to be named because they also sell in the market. The current producer has provided high-quality fruit at a fair price year after year. Gordon hasn’t raised the price of the wines in 15 years, keeping his original promise that wines with the Bacchus label will always be affordable and delicious. “People want ripe fruit and a clean taste that’s not too oaky or tannic,” he says. “The Bacchus wines are refreshing, they can be drunk as an aperitif before dinner or with a meal."
Wines bearing the Bacchus label, much like David Gordon himself, are welcoming and unpretentious. With its consistent quality year after year, Bacchus has become its own tradition.