Nile Zacherle

Nile Zacherle is the co-Founder of Mad Fritz Brewing Co and Director of Winegrowing at David Arthur Vineyards on Pritchard Hill in the Napa Valley.

Nile first began his journey into fermented beverages in 1990 at the age of 18 when he and his father brewed their first batch of beer at home. What began as a father/son home project continued to evolve until he transitioned his schooling from a focus in art and design to a BS in Fermentation Science at UC Davis. While at UC Davis, Nile completed the Master Brewers program passing the 2 day exam issued by the IOBD (Institute of Brewing and Distilling based in the UK) in 1996.

After an internship at a Napa Winery doing small lot winemaking and research enology he returned to UC Davis to finish his degree.  From winemaking positions in Napa Valley’s Barnett Vineyards and Chateau Montelena to roles at Western Australia’s Pierro Margaret River Vineyards and Bordeaux, France’s Chateau d’Arsac, Nile built a career producing award-winning wines from Burgundian and Bordeaux varietals.

In 2014, together with his wife, they started, Mad Fritz, named after their two children Madeleine and Fritz. Their focus is on malting and brewing beers with a ‘Farm to Foam’ approach. The sourcing of single variety barleys that are craft-malted with an origin, as well as hops and water sourcing defines the beer styles in what they call ‘Origin Beer’. 

3 words to describe Nature?

Inspiring. Powerful. Subtle

3 things Nature taught you?




3 most treasured Nature spots?

The ocean/waves at Kailua Beach in Hawaii 

The forest/trails at Moore Creek in Napa

The rocks/geology at Yosemite Valley

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?

Calm yet tentative -aware

When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?

Excited yet unknowing - insignificant

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?

Inspired yet scared

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?


When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?


When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?


Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?


On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10 (living around it and exploring regularly keeps me sane)

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Moving to Hawaii and learning to duck the waves as a young boy, feeling safe in ocean as big surf rolled in rather than scared. Accepting and swimming towards the monster rather than away