Showcasing the Talents of IU Alumni

In fall 2018, the IU Alumni Association launched a private label wine program–the 1820 Collection–to celebrate the IU Bicentennial. The wine is produced by IU alumnus David Brutocao and his family. Left to right: Steve, Len, and David Brutocao. Photo courtesy of Brutocao Family Vineyards.

In Fall 2018, the IU Alumni Association launched a private label wine program–the 1820 Collection—to celebrate the IU Bicentennial. The winemaker? Indiana University alumnus David Brutocao, MBA’83.

Brutocao Family Vineyards won a competition to produce the 1820 Collection. The competition was conducted by Stefan Davis, executive director emeritus of IUPUI alumni relations and member of Confrérie Des Chevaliers du Tastevin, along with Vinoshippers, the IU Alumni Association’s distribution partner, and two separate tasting panels.

“This is a great way to showcase the many talents of IU alumni,” J T. Forbes, BA’90, MPA’96, chief executive officer of the IU Alumni Association, said.

The Brutocao family has made exclusive wines for other universities including Stanford, Notre Dame, and Loyola Marymount. When approached by IU to create a private label wine to mark the Bicentennial, Brutocao was immediately on board.

“Great! Finally a school that I went to!” he said.

As a proud alum, Brutocao is excited for more people to experience his family’s wine.

“Our goal is to make a good wine at a good price,” he said.

The 1820 Collection features a handcrafted 2014 Pinot Noir, a 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, a 2016 Chardonnay, and a 2017 Sauvignon Blanc.

Brutocao graduated from the Kelley School of Business, and he is currently the Director of Winemaking Operations at Brutocao Family Vineyards in Hopland, Calif. Before getting involved in the family winemaking business, Brutocao managed his family’s highway construction company.

“I focused on operations and production management in my MBA, and that gave me a variety of skills and knowledge that are easily transferrable to a variety of different industries,” he said.

Today, Brutocao wears a variety of hats at the vineyard.

What started as a small grape farm in the 1940s—when Brutocao’s grandfather purchased a modest plot of land in Mendocino County—has grown into an award-winning vineyard with more than 400 acres of land. The family released their first bottles of wine in 1980, but today they make “Estate Produced” vintages. Brutocao Family Vineyards has seven family members directly involved in growing, producing, designing labels, and distributing the company’s wines.

The Brutocao family is also committed to social causes. They are partners with Wine to Water—a nonprofit dedicated to fighting the world’s water crisis and ensuringthat everyone has access to clean water worldwide. Brutocao Family Vineyards develops and produces a wine for the nonprofit, and a portion of the proceeds are invested in projects devoted to developing water systems and facilities in communities currently lacking drinkable water.

“It feels good to be involved with such an important issue,” Brutocao said.

In a similar fashion, Brutocao wine will do good for IU. A portion of the proceeds from the 1820 Collection go to the IUAA’s scholarship fund, directly benefitting IU students university wide. IUAA recently distributed more than $160,000 to 141 students.

“We know the need for scholarships is great, so we’re making that type of fundraising a priority with this collection,” Forbes said.

The 1820 Collection features a handcrafted 2014 Pinot Noir, a 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, a 2016 Chardonnay, and a 2017 Sauvignon Blanc. All of these wines are currently available for order at partners.vinoshipper.com/indiana.


This article originally appeared in the January 2019 issue of 200: The IU Bicentennial Magazine, a special six-issue magazine that highlights Bicentennial activities and shares untold stories from the dynamic history of Indiana University. Visit 200.iu.edu for more Bicentennial information.

Tags from the story
Written By
Zachary Vaughn
Zachary Vaughn, PhD’19, is a graduate assistant with IU’s Office of the Bicentennial, and a contributor to 200: The IU Bicentennial Magazine.