Formation of the Team
For Hervé Bruckert, creating a wine business aligned directly with his strong desire to ground himself, geographically and spiritually, in Northern California while drawing upon his roots and his formative experience of winemaking in the Alsatian region of France.
“My entire family is in the wine industry in Alsace, France. I saw my uncle grow his business over the years and his role modeling continues to inspire me.”
Hervé invited his friend, Ladd Cahoon, to partner in the wine adventure. Ladd also had a bit of winemaking in his blood – as a child, he’d helped his father make wine in their cellar at home. As an adult, Ladd's interest in wine grew, tasting wine in his father’s Sonoma pizzeria and restaurant, and through his exposure to the wine industrywork on behalf of wineries and vineyard owners as an environmental attorney.
Thanks to good timing and introductions by a mutual friend, Hervé and Ladd then welcomed Dana Zimmerman, an experienced self-taught winemaker who already had won awards producing Zinfandel and other wines from the Russian River area.
Together, Hervé, Ladd, and Dana forged important connections with vineyard owners specializing in Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel.
In honor and celebration of life’s many new beginnings, transitions, and continued growth, including their own, Ladd aptly named their new adventure De Novo Wines.
With overwhelmingly positive feedback, growing award recognition, and repeated inquiries about purchasing their wines, 2006 marked the year that the De Novo team took their next steps to make the wine adventure a commercial business. During one of their many "official business meetings" at Café Bastille in San Francisco, the team also decided to commemorate the venue and their new beginnings by naming their now-signature Bordeaux blend, Bastille.
In 2007, De Novo submitted entries to San Francisco Wine Competition and won a double gold medal (unanimous gold by the judges) for their 2006 Cabernet and a silver medal for their 2006 Zinfandel. In February 2008, the De Novo team participated in the competition’s public tasting event, pouring their wines among the 3,000 people in attendance.
After a chance meeting with Hervé in early 2008, Erol Odabasi tasted a few bottles of De Novo's first vintages, attended a harvest party, and was hooked. Erol was thrilled to have the opportunity to combine his passions for wine and sustainability along with his operations background and MBA from UC Davis, which is known for it's outstanding Viticulture & Enology programs.
In early 2009, Deepti Illa was introduced to Hervé by a mutual friend to help with De Novo's marketing efforts. Having studied wine-making and the sensory evaluation of wine, she was eager for an opportunity to take her interest in wine to the next level. After working on several projects to expand marketing outreach in the San Francisco bay area while completing her MBA from UC Berkeley, Deepti enthusiastically joined the De Novo team. She is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and an Introductory Certified Sommelier (Level 1)