OUR STORY

Steve Bruere and Alan Busacca met in 2016 during a chance introduction while collaborating on a large agricultural asset outside of Walla Walla. Alan was retained to evaluate the potential to convert a portion of the farm to wine grapes and Steve was engaged as the real estate broker to oversee the sale of the property. Immediately a strong friendship formed between Alan and Steve as they bonded through their love of land and fine wine.

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Alan, a West Coast native, has a rich understanding of the Pacific Northwest through his career as a soil scientist, geologist, researcher and teacher at Washington State University, and now viticultural consultant. As an Iowa farm boy and life-long entrepreneur, Steve has been deeply entrenched in agriculture, real estate, and business. Alan’s understanding of viticulture and soils coupled with Steve’s real estate, marketing, and business expertise create a dynamic partnership.

As Steve began to build his real estate business in the Pacific Northwest, Alan was pleased to feed his imagination with the potential of the region and share its amazing wines, culture, and vineyards. After showing Steve his vineyard located in the Columbia Gorge AVA near The Dalles, Oregon and detailing his vision for its development, Alan asked Steve to join him as a partner in Windhorse Vineyard.  Steve, with a knack for both farming and real estate immediately understood the opportunity and became Alan’s partner to see the vision of developing Windhorse into a world class vineyard. 

Throughout the development of Windhorse and the addition of a second estate vineyard in the Oregon portion of the Walla Walla Valley AVA, Wheatfield Vines Vineyard, Alan and Steve quickly learned the lesson that many in the wine industry know too well. To make a small fortune in the wine business, you must first start with a large fortune. This principle became the flagship and foundation of Capital Call Vintners founded by Alan and Steve’s wife, Nikki. Just as the story has deepened and become richer over the years, so too has this friendship and their commitment to making great wines. To share the Capital Call Vintners’ story and bring a taste of the Pacific Northwest to Iowa, Steve and Nikki established the Mercantile, a unique wine and cocktail bar in Cumming, Iowa. The Mercantile is part of the Middlebrook Agrihood, a development that honors the agricultural legacy of Iowa by integrating farming into the daily life of residents and visitors. 

Our Team

Steve and Nikki at Windhorse Vineyard

STEVE & NIKKI BRUERE

Founders

Steve and Nikki Bruere grew up in the heart of the Corn Belt in Central Iowa with a passion for agriculture and land. Steve’s enthusiasm for farmland began as a child on his family’s farm in Warren County, Iowa.

Steve developed his passion into a career as the President of Peoples Company, a full-service agricultural land transaction firm serving the country’s largest landowners. Steve is a prominent voice in agriculture and is highly sought after by national media for his expertise and industry advocate. After Peoples Company started doing business in the Pacific Northwest and opened an office in Walla Walla, Steve and Nikki began spending a considerable amount of time in the area enjoying the wine and visiting their vineyards.

Steve and Nikki took their passion for growing grapes and the Pacific NW and have started to make exceptional wines through Capital Call Vintners to share their passion with friends and family through some amazing wines.

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ALAN BUSACCA

Founder

Alan Busacca is known to many people around the Northwest U.S., California, and beyond as ‘Dr. Dirt’. He is a soil scientist and geologist who some years ago shifted his passion for pure research on agriculture, soil formation, and Ice Age geology toward the applied science of growing grapes for fine wine and helping others do the same. Alan was professor of soil science, agriculture, and geology from 1982 to 2006 at Washington State University. With a growing personal and professional interest in vineyard consulting, wine grapes, and wine, Alan left WSU in 2006 to pursue a new path.

Alan now owns Vinitas Vineyard Consultants, evaluating land nationally and internationally for vineyard development, pre-purchase and pre-sale assessment of farmland, and assisting in the design of vineyards.

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JOSH MALONEY

Winemaker

Josh Maloney has spent more than twenty years making wine across North America, from New York’s Finger Lakes west to Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in Napa and Estancia in California’s Monterey County before coming north.

Chateau Ste. Michelle hired Joshua as their Red winemaker from the Canoe Ridge Estate facility in 2005. Six years later he moved to Milbrandt Vineyards as Head Winemaker AND – simultaneously – Director of Winemaking for custom crush facility Wahluke Wine Company.

Over a two decade career, his wines have earned 90 point (or higher) awards more than 70 times from the major wine publications, which more than justifies his focus on creating wines that reflect the vineyard, variety and vintage of each wine released.

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ELI PYNCH &
JOHN STEHLIK

Mt. Hood Winery

In operation since 2002, Mt. Hood Winery has maintained a reputation of excellence acknowledged when the winery was named Oregon Winery of the Year in 2016. Located in the heart of the scenic Hood River Valley, Mt. Hood Winery is renowned in the region for its award-winning lineup of wines.

Eli Pynch, a native of Hood River, has been passionate about the art of winemaking since a young age. He has honed his craft over the years under the mentorship of acclaimed winemaker Rich Cushman.

John Stehlik, Director of Winemaking oversees the entire wine production process at Mt. Hood Winery. Mt. Hood Winery oversees the production of our WindHorse line of wines, carefully crafting each variety and vintage to bring out the distinct terroir and characteristics of WindHorse Vineyard.

Claire Smith happily opening a bottle of white wine

CLAIRE SMITH

Distribution Coordinator

Claire Smith, founder of Cellar Door Solutions, LLC, bridges the gap between wineries and consumers by assisting Pacific Northwest wineries with market strategies, distribution partnerships, and sales team education. Raised in Washington and born into a family of vineyard managers, winery owners, and regional sales managers, Claire’s career in the wine industry has spanned roles at Nestlé, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, and Republic National Distribution Company. After developing relationships in the industry, she created her company to fulfill her passion of helping family wineries share their legacy.

Claire’s role at Capital Call focuses on introducing the portfolio to restaurants and retailers and planning the distribution debuts of our wines. 

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JACK ARNOLD

Brand Ambassador

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BRYAN WALTERS

Walla Walla Tasting Room Manager

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ROBERT WILKE

Mercantile Manager

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RICK EATON

Mercantile Assistant Manager

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