Local wine lovers will have another reason to celebrate later this year as a new winery joins the ever-growing list of selections in Brentwood.
Serendipity Cellars, located on Chestnut Street just outside of downtown, plans to open this summer as a “boutique winery experience,” featuring six varietals of fantastic wine.
Owners Bryan and Michele Lucay ended up in the winemaking game wholly by accident, they admit.
By trade, they work in construction, having established their own contracting company — GroundWorks Inc. — back in 2002.
Beyond that, they were never wine drinkers, preferring the taste of tequila. But all that changed in 2004 when they took on a job engraving concrete at Ceja Vineyards in Napa, where the winemaker insisted on offering them wine as thanks.
The pair politely refused at first, saying they didn’t care for wine, but the veteran winemaker told them, “It’s not that you don’t like wine — you just haven’t found a wine you like.” With that, he once again offered each of them a glass, and the rest is history.
“That experience is really what started us on this journey,” Michele said. “We had sent out 2,500 flyers to wineries in Napa to show them this engraved concrete idea we were working on. Out of those 2,500, the one winery to reach out was Ceja — that’s the serendipity we named the winery after.”
Soon after discovering a passion for drinking wine, the Lucays jumped headfirst into making it when their new friend at Ceja called and asked if they would like 250 mourvèdre grape vines.
Bryan, always eager to learn something new in the most hands-on way possible, quickly accepted. That was twelve years ago.
Today, Michele and Bryan are coming into their own as winemakers as they prepare for the grand opening of Serendipity Cellars this summer.
The property, which spans about fifteen acres, was originally used for growing green beans, until the Lucays took it over in August 2018.
Those vegetables have since been replaced by six types of wine grapes, to make seven varietals of wine: chardonnay, cabernet, sauvignon blanc, vermentino and tempranillo, along with sangiovese, which lends itself to both the classic red wine and a sangiovese rosé.
Although the property may be new, the Lucays have the interesting distinction of using older vines, thanks to the technique of cloning.
In viticulture, cloning is the process of pruning vines from older plants, often those that have proven their ability to grow superior grapes, and grafting those vines onto existing rootstock.
The result is essentially an older vine, despite a younger root having been planted. Using this method, the Lucays have been able to create plants, such as their sangiovese and vermentino vines, that are clones of plants that have been producing excellent grapes since 2010.
Cloning has also allowed them to engineer plants that are similar to existing ones, such as their sauvignon blanc and chardonnay vines, which are clones of the popular wente varietals.
When Serendipity Cellars opens this summer, there will be more on offer than just wine. The back area of the property will be a family-friendly hangout where, except on special occasions, even children will be welcome to play lawn games and enjoy the rustic ambience of the winery, while food will be served from a rotating selection of local food trucks.
The winery also has indoor seating that will be kept 21 and over, to create a space for those who prefer a more adult-oriented setting. The winery will offer wine flights, tours of the vineyards and other special events.
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/serendipitycellars/.