Before becoming a winemaker, Brad had almost 15 years of experience within the IT consulting services and staffing industry. He had a strong history of business development, channel management, recruiting and engagement management. I have comprehensive experience working with product partners, internal management, and external (client) management in the development and execution of IT project plans. He has also been a sales, recruiting and operations leader.
As someone who moonlights as a sportswriter, I was impressed by his time spent playing major college baseball. He was a right handed pitcher. And of course one of my favorite baseball books is by a pitcher - Jim Bouton's BALL FOUR. He said, "While I was at San Jose State playing baseball in an adult league, I was convinced by a few semi-pro players that I should pursue baseball. I was introduced to a very well known baseball coach in California and then transferred to the junior college (San Jose City) where he was coaching. After 2 seasons there, I was recruited by and invited to play for an excellent baseball program in California--UC Davis."
You probably didn't know that Davis had an excellent baseball program.
"When I played there, we were Division 2 (now Davis is D1), but we played a stronger schedule than most of the big division 1 programs. We were ranked #2 in the country."
The 1994 U.C. Davis Aggies were one of the best baseball nine to ever take the field in the history of the school. They shattered UC Davis Baseball record books with Most Victories (47) & Highest Winning Percentage (.797). Northern California Athletic Conference Champion by dramatic 16 game margin with 32-3 record. Ranked as high as 2nd in NCAA polls finishing 9th nationally. Parlayed two separate win streaks of 10 games during season. Lost NCAA West Regional Championship Game to host UC Riverside but placed four All-West Region Tournament players. Garnered seven All-NCAC first team stars including conference player, pitcher & coach of year. Six regulars averaged over .300 showcasing team batting average of .301. Three starting pitchers won combined 33 games. Pitching corps set new school records for Shutouts (12) & Saves (14) while fashioning 3.16 Earned Run Average. Superb defense set school standard with 58 Double Plays & .962 Team Fielding Percentage. Team produced three NCAA All-Americans & five NCAA All-West Region First Team choices including All-West Region Pitcher of Year. Three student-athletes earned GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-District honors. Five players signed professional baseball contracts after graduation.
But the allure of wine soon made it's impact. "My exposure to wine and winemaking started there, even though I didn't study it directly while I went to school at Davis." So Brad traded in his cleats for a wine glass.
Brad was hooked.
"I started homebrewing beer about 10 years ago and dabbled with a little home winemaking. About 5 years ago I started getting more serious about learning everything I could about wine and the science of winemaking. I read numerous books about the history of wine, major players in the industry, and the science behind it."
Suddenly Brad wanted to trade in his glass for a wine thief.
"In 2010 I started the winemaking certification program with UC Davis --doing the classes online while commuting on the train into NYC every day--I'm still working on that certification. About that time, I met Michael and Yancey Migliore and explained to them how I was very interested in the wine business and how I would love to work with them. I volunteered my services for whatever they needed help with around the winery. In the winter of 2010, I started working with the sparkling product line."
Brad remains an ardent baseball fan. He's a Phillies man. Famed baseball pitcher Jim Bouton once wrote, “You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.” I think you could morph that for Brad Martz and for all wine folk -You spend a good piece of your life gripping a wine thief and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time. Welcome to The Show Mr. Martz!