The Brief Biography
Bruce & Krassimira Rector
Krassimira started her life in Bulgaria in 1967. She had two distinct advantages growing up:
the agricultural pursuits of her grandparents that lived in the rural village, and living in town
with her parents, a teacher and a physician. She attended school, and the fruition of that was
being sponsored by an agricultural cooperative to become an agricultural engineer.
Her chance to pay back the education did not come directly, because with the change of
domestic policy (end of communism), the cooperative ceased to exist. So, as many of her
age, she moved to the big city and got a job. In Plovdiv she had the good fortune to work
for the most progressive software company. They wanted their staff and clients to stay a
little closer to home, in a little nicer environment, so they opened a very modern club at their
office building. Krassi became the bar-keep and gained exposure to the hospitality industry.
With encouragement from her older sister Galina, she learned English and applied for the
student visa program to travel to Australia and California to study and work in wineries.
Although emigrating to Australia would have been relatively easy, the two sisters decided
that Northern California, specifically Sonoma County, was the best combination in the world
of culture, beauty, and wine. They took up residency, living first in Cloverdale and then
moving to Sebastopol as it was more convenient to their winery jobs. It was there that Bruce
and Krassimira met at Taft Street Winery.
Bruce started his life in Annapolis, Maryland in 1950. His father was a mathematician and
his mother a playwright; once again, two distinct advantages. In 1956, Pop piled Bruce's two
older sisters, Cleone and Robin, with Mom, into the Hudson Hornet and drove to Redondo
Beach in Southern California. There, a job in the aerospace industry awaited Pop, and a
stimulating youth by the beach awaited Bruce.
In 1969 Bruce moved to the San Fernando Valley to go the State University. It was there
that a twist of fate entranced him with wine. He moved into a house with a basement, a true
rarity in Southern California. This was all the excuse he needed to start a life of fermen-
tation: beer, mead, and wine. Add to that the Viet Nam war was going on, and quite a
fermentation it was.
Bruce settled in with the Ecology Action movement and did advocacy work. But to get a
degree in that field of interest meant that he had to transfer to University of California at
Davis. Environmental Planning and Management was the name of the major and at the time
it was about learning how to prepare or administer the complex documents of the then new
Environmental Impact Reports. Then the epiphany hit: he was going to be working for, or
reacting to, a governmental bureaucracy... not his cup-of-tea. So he switched majors to
Fermentation Science and got a job at Nichelini Winery. In 1976 he graduated as a Bachelor
of Science with an individual major that heralded both his college passions: Community
Environmentalism and Fermentation Arts.
Then his education really started: Nichelini Winery, Monterey Peninsula Winery, Stony
Ridge, Glen Ellen, consulting in Texas and Pennsylvania, founding the Napa Valley School
of Cellaring, starting a family: Blake and Clark, selling Glen Ellen and starting his own
winery and meeting Krassimira at Taft Street.
Our life together started in 2000. Bruce set eyes on Krassimira and thought, “who is that
angel?” She was going from bottling station to bottling station trying to keep the workers
awake, amused, and aware. At the time, she didn't notice Bruce, but a few weeks later, Krassi
set eyes on him. He was cooking a harvest-thank-you-lunch on a scrap iron grill on the
ground for the winery staff, and Krassi thought that it was very nice that this homeless man
was given a job. Well, we certainly solved that homeless problem.
A few months later, the cloud with the silver lining started to rain on us. We were both fired
from our jobs, of course Bruce claims he wasn’t fired (it was just that according to Krassi,
‘his position was eliminated’). So after this God-sent pruning, life blossomed together for us
when we started our winery. Our first harvest together was in 2003, although if you count
both of our vintages together, it was our 50th anniversary.
For the first time in our lives we got to use the grape we wanted to use, ferment exactly when
and how we thought best, make only the amount that allows us to dote on each barrel, and
bottle when the wine was at it’s peak, and basically have fun doing it. We owe the bank
nothing, we sleep at night, and don’t feel obligated to innovate or be shackled by tradition.
We pick and choose the best. Being so small allows us to do this. As we grow up our wines,
we keep this in mind: how should we do this so everyone’s table will be magical and
memorable. This is a luxury we live and work in, and it’s what we want to bring to you.