Harvard University, by any other name in wine country, is now called Brodiaea, Inc.

When Harvard gets involved, we’re just off the normal beaten path. It’s been my experience that the learning curve is very long and steep for this industry. Investors want their profits today.

The old adage of, “If you want to make a small fortune in the wine industry, start with a big one,” is now going to play itself out.  Let’s see who, among the investors, is in it for the long haul. It could be very interesting: who falls away quickly, who does it slowly, and who rises to the top. Cream does that, right? And then we’ll see if it’s sustainable. Perhaps whomever it was that started this corporation is already in the business, and convinced others to join him or her as a great investment. This would guarantee some success, because that person could eventually be the last one standing.

A vineyard belonging to Brodiaea Inc. is owned by the Harvard endowment fund, and is located in Shandon, California. There’s something fascinating going on in Shandon… a small sleepy town and one that I’ve never heard of before now.

Visit this page for full details at www.city-data.com for Shandon, California:

Estimated median house or condo value in 2012: $188,028 (it was $111,400 in 2000) in Shandon, CA.

In 12 years, this town of 1,290 people has had a population growth of +31.3 percent.

More interesting stats:

Males: 755 (58.3%) ~ Females: 540 (41.7%)

Median resident age: 30.6 years ~ California median age: 32.1 years

The Harvard company bought land in 2012. Now look at the figures above, again.

Robert Mondavi did this group buying maneuver very successfully, when his family got into a riff and threw him out.

It was about Robert and his first wife Margaret being invited to the White House, and they bought a small fur jacket for her. The family didn’t know that they had a savings, and so he was accused of embezzling from his family. His mother sided with his brother, and that ended his family ties. It’s all in his book, Harvests of Joy: How the Good Life Became Great Business.

Mondavi got friends to help him begin Robert Mondavi Winery. I know of another person who had this same method of operation… Convince his friends, also with fortunes, to invest in his hobby of 300 cases a year, and call it a winery. They’re now all financial vintners, with the exception of the one, who didn’t have a large enough fortune.

Having worked with so many people from such diverse backgrounds, this one is going to be a really interesting one to watch.

When the Harvard plan was launched, it was called Brodiaea, INC. …like a Bro idea, or Bro (d) International Atomic Energy Agency. I wonder if either scenario is how they came to their name…  Only they have that history as we all wonder.

In a Reuters story, written by Richard Valdmanis, on January 22, 2015, entitled “Harvard buys up water rights in drought-hit wine country”

The investment, which began as a bet on the grape market, has turned into a smart water play as the wells boosted the value of its land in the up-and-coming wine region of Paso Robles. But it has also raised questions about the role of big investors in agriculture in the midst of a water crisis.

The real story here is the buying up of water rights from a group of people coming from Boston. I love Boston, having a great grandfather who founded it, I’m from Maine (and the Boston area in the summers). I also have Harvard legacy in my family history. So, there’s nothing wrong with Boston, in my opinion; however, buying up water rights from California farmers? Hum…

According to a story in Reuters, Harvard has become one of the biggest grape growers in the Paso Robles area of California. This investing in this area of California coincidentally began with the onset of our recent drought. They’ve secured drilling rights for 16 water wells. They’re planing on going down from 700 to 900 feet. This is much deeper than residential wells by two to three times (county records). When shallow wells dry up, these investors are going to be just fine.

Will these deeper wells take water away from the more shallow ones? Most probably… The residents could be in trouble, from these Eastern Invaders.

Returning to Richard Valdmanis’s words:

The company got permits for seven 800-foot wells on Aug. 21, 2013, six days before a ban on new pumping from the hardest-hit part of the basin took effect, according to previously unreported data from the records.

The Harvard Investment Fund is a very serious operation, where a return on an investment is critical for its success. Jane Mendillo lead the endowment until December 2014. Now, insider Stephen Blyth has replaced her. From Harvard Management Company:

Stephen Blyth became President and Chief Executive Officer of HMC on January 1, 2015. Previously, he held the title of Managing Director and Head of Public Markets for HMC. He is also Professor of the Practice of Statistics at Harvard University…

Dr. Blyth earned a PhD in statistics from Harvard University and an MA in mathematics with first class honors from Christ’s College, Cambridge University. After graduation from Harvard, Dr. Blyth was a lecturer in the Department of Mathematics at Imperial College London. His book, An Introduction to Quantitative Finance, was published by Oxford University Press in November 2013.

 This is nobody’s hobby of passion, with the exception of money being a passion. Let’s see how it plays out.

About Brodiaea, Inc

A Foreign Stock business incorporated in California, USA on June 22, 2012. Their business is recorded as Active. It is not part of a group. The company was incorporated 3 years ago.

Business Type

Foreign Stock
Company Status

Incorporation date

Last statement

Business Address and mailing address:

800 Boylston Street, Prudential Tower
MA 02199-3600

Agent: C T Corporation System *** W Seventh Street, Los Angeles, CA *****