Boulay Wine Company

Focused, transparent, pure

Brian Boulay was drawn to wine by its subtleties and nuance, and – to borrow from Thiese – by the silences rather than the noise.

When Brian bought his first quarter-ton of grapes over ten years ago, he was immediately awestruck by the intimacy of this process of transformation, and the sheer honesty and elegance of fermentation. Distinct, drinkable, unique wine was the result. Today each moment of his winemaking life is consumed by this feeling and epiphany – the sense of wonderment that ensues when one is able to witness this change. Since then there has been no turning back – he has been completely absorbed by a winemaking process of “no process.” The questions are and have been consistently obvious to him: “Am I working with truly expressive fruit? Do these grapes and this site really have something interesting to say? Does this wine have the potential to be inimitable?

Boulay wants to craft wines that hold your attention. Their duty is to be distinct, not consistent. One should seek, savor and interact with the wine itself and not be prodded in the chest by the winemaker. Brian has spent too much time in “old Europe” and enjoyed too many wines to ever believe that they need the scaffolding of a complicated enzyme regimen, industrial food additives like gum arabic, color, tannins, designer yeast or malolactic bacteria…though not necessarily wrong or harmful, they are all distractions from that initial, quiet epiphany. He reminds us that most vignerons in Europe do not have a laboratory.

Boulay admits he is perhaps fanatic, but not dogmatic. It is a choice and an expression itself not to walk the path of the technocrat, hypnotized by one’s own power in the cellar, rather than be guided by the power and mystique of the grapes. The place, the vines, and the time should speak loudest, not the winemaker.

Boulay is fascinated by minor aesthetic distinctions. The subtleties of color, of sound, and, most importantly, the nuances of how these experiences are lived, enjoyed and shared. The placement of wines in a hierarchy is problematic for Brian, and he would much rather discuss the finer differences and distinctions rather then their relative “importance.” He believes a fine wine should be unique, fairly exclusive (on the basis of its small production and artisanal qualities), from a specific place and time, and have a clear path from vineyard to glass. It should be the best wine for the moment: the moment one is paying attention.


Willamette Valley


Brian Boulay