Brandy Collection2022-12-17T13:06:09-08:00

Charbay Brandy: Classically Crafted, California Styled

The roots of Brandy making in California can be traced to the Missionaries, with a history over 300 years old. Today that spirit continues, and we are proud to be one of the early pioneers of the category, distilling since 1983. We honor the traditional distillation process, with our custom made Alambic Charentais pot still, but we blend in true Californian style, unrestricted by rules, guided by the exceptional quality of grapes our local estates provide. 

Select From Our Luxury Brandy Collection

Bottle of Charbay Brandy No. 83 made in 1983 with a snifter glass in the background

Brandy No. 83

Bottle of Charbay Brandy 89 close up

Brandy No. 89

Questions We’re Often Asked

What is the difference between California Brandy and French Cognac?2022-09-24T17:35:00-07:00

A main difference relates to grape types. French Cognac has very strict regulations governing the varietal of grapes – only white wine and must be grown in the Cognac region. California Brandy places no restrictions on the varietal or location. This gives the distiller the freedom to craft a multi-dimensional Brandy using a collection of flavors rather than a limited range.

Why is our Brandy so expensive?2022-09-24T17:41:53-07:00

For a number of very good reasons that all relate to producing the best quality Brandy possible.

  1. Reduction. We loose a lot in the process of production. Why would we do that? To achieve a flavor that is outstanding. Basically it’s a 10 to 1 reduction. Meaning, when we start with 10 gallons of wine, the final distillate will be 1 gallon. 
  2. Fruit quality. We start with expensive Napa Valley grapes because they are the highest quality we can source. Starting with quality means we end with quality.
  3. Evaporation. It’s affectionately known as the angel share. It’s the loss that occurs through the barrel aging process. Typically 2-3% annually. You can imagine how this really added up when we aged Brandy No.83 for 27 years and Brandy No. 89 for 24 years.
What kind of grapes are used in California Brandy?2022-09-24T17:42:25-07:00

Unlike Cognac with its strict rules associated with grape varietals, California Brandy has no such restrictions. The freedom to use any grape varietal is what puts California Brandy in a class of its own. However, there are some grape varietals better suited to Brandy production such as Pinot Noir, Riesling, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. For our No.83, we took the traditional path, sourcing a Californian-grown, Cognac varietal, called Folle Blanche. It’s a rare varietal, even in France today. For No.89 we were looking for a stronger Californian influence, selecting a blend of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. 

Can Brandy be made from other fruits?2022-09-24T17:42:55-07:00

When most people think Brandy, they think grapes, but legally it doesn’t have to be. Brandy can be made fermenting other fruits, with the most popular being apples or pears. When this is the case it is usually referred to by its fruit name such as Apple Brandy or Pear Brandy. 

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