A few years later, Stanford, Harvard and other prestigious universities helped Bryan refine his career choices. "They all looked at my application and tossed it. I didn't get into any MBA program I tried out for." He decided to enroll in a masters program in food sciences and enology at UC Davis instead.
In the meantime, his dad's vineyard was flourishing. Other winemakers who bought Walter's grapes were impressed with the results. "The first wines that came off the vineyard in '82 and '83 were promising," Babcock said. "The gewürztraminer was good, the acids were good, the riesling was fantastic."
In 1984, Bryan was scheduled to return to UC Davis to finish his thesis. "I started crushing grapes here instead," he said, gesturing to the undulating landscape around him, now covered with vineyards. "My dad purchased a small crusher and a presser and some barrels, and we started making wine together. I forgot about school. I've been making wine ever since."