Bad Astronauts Winery started in 2006 as a group of home winemakers and wine enthusiasts in Sacramento, CA. The name of the winery reflects our passion for science, exploration, innovation, and space — but, alas, also our general lack of fitness to actually be astronauts ourselves.
Having failed at becoming astronauts (too much wine drinking), our first effort in winemaking, a Syrah, was also underwhelming (to say the least). The next year (2007), we bought half a ton of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Shortly after fermentation started, it became obvious that something was wrong. The fermenting juice gave off a horrible smell, and it seemed like 2007 was going to be another year of wine failure.
After gathering advice from every winemaker, website, and book we could find, we went to work to try to salvage our investment — with science!
A year later, having done everything we could to help the wine along, we were quite pleased with the results and bottled it.
It didn’t take long for California’s most distinguished wine critics to notice that what we had created was special. Named the 2007 Phoenix Landing, this wine with a troubled past ended up taking Best Red and a Double Gold Medal at the El Dorado County Fair, as well as a Gold Medal at the California State Fair.
From this point, the Bad Astronauts went on to produce many award-winning wines in 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012.
In 2018, the Bad Astronauts’ head winemaker relocated to the Oregon coast and established a secret experimental winery where he’s hatching plans to outrun climate change and continue the tradition of Bad Astronauts making good wine, even after it becomes impossible to do so in California.