Since the days of original owner, when the property existed as Durant Brice’s stage coach stop on the way up to Big Trees, Brice Station has been a must see destination for travelers from all around the world. And not much has changed! With the addition of the tasting room to the property in 2003, the old stage stop added wine tasting to the already impressive list of things to see and do including: Pottery, Fine Art, Blacksmithing, Mechanical Printing, Livestock, Organic Gardens, and Impressive Vistas.
Originally part of a homestead deed signed by President McKinley in 1900, the land was sold to Mr. Durant Brice in 1915.
Times were tough, and making a living was nearly impossible for the people in the gold country. Brice, an industrious fellow, gathered California Spanish moss for pillow and mattress stuffing, built little cabins from salvaged doors, collected manzanita mushrooms to dry and sell, planted apple and pear orchards, and built his home, a stage stop, a sawmill, and a roadhouse known as Brice Station.
In 1943 Paul (senior) and Kitty Quyle purchased the land with the reward he was given for apprehending one of the F.B.I.’s 10 most-wanted criminals (a very bad man who killed 26 people in the course of his bank-robbing career). During this time, new owners Paul and Kitty gave Mr. Brice a life-time estate on the land.
In 1954 Paul (junior) and Joyce Quyle moved to the parents’ ranch and built Quyle Kilns clay and pottery business, now the second oldest manufacturing business in Calaveras County.
In 1976 Dolores Quyle, middle daughter of Paul and Joyce, married Stuart Mast, a 5th generation farmer from Yolo County. Stuart and Dolores helped operate the clay and pottery business, started a family of their own, and in 1993 planted the first acre of wine grapes.
The site chosen for the vines was first cleared of pine trees in 1900 by original owner Fenton Davis, who had grown abundant hay crops for 90 years.
After a devastating forest fire in the summer of 1992 destroyed most of the timber on the ranch, we replanted 22,000 little pine trees. We were convinced we could grow wine grapes at this elevation, so friends and neighbors helped plant 600 Cabernet Sauvignon vines in 1993.
In 1994 we added another acre of Cabernet Franc. In 1998, we planted our first crop of Merlot. Subsequently, we added another 4 acres Cabernet Sauvignon and another acre of Merlot. Those first years we sold the grapes to local wineries and 2 wineries in the Napa Valley. After winning a number of top awards for our homemade wine we decided in 2001 to take the leap into commercial wine making and have been producing high quality, unfiltered wine from sustainably raised grapes.