by MICHELLE TREMBLAY | photos by Soul of Photography

Wine & Art

“Life is too short to drink bad wine” is the mantra by which Brian Schmaltz strives to live. Brian has been a long-time fan of small-production wines and his passion for wine grew stronger while he was living in Napa Valley. “I would often volunteer to help local wineries during harvest, which is how I found out that 13-hour days of hard labor in the sweltering heat is how wine is made,” he recalled. These experiences eventually led Brian to partner with his friend and winemaker Robin Akhurst to create his own wine called Library Collection Wine.

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From the beginning, Brian has created unique bottles of wine, featuring a label for each vintage created by a single talented artist. “It goes back to our ideology,” explained Brian. “We feel every vintage yields a completely different wine, so we decided that the label artwork should be representative of that with unique artwork for every bottling. It is certainly an expensive and time-consuming process, but a labor of love.”

The artwork for the first vintage was created by Brian’s cousin, Romalyn Schmaltz, who is an artist located in San Francisco. The latest wine label was created by local artist and fellow Torrey Pines High School alum Mac Hillenbrand. “Social media has expanded the number of submissions we receive from artists, so the selection process hasn’t become any easier,” noted Brian.

“Looking around every day I see people who chose to excel at their profession or passion, and that inspires me.”

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Library Collection’s wine consists of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon varietals derived from its vineyards located in Napa Valley. Brian hopes to experiment with other Napa varietals in the future. “The challenge is the time and commitment required daily,” he described, “But the most rewarding is the gratification from a customer and confirmation that you have done something special.”

Brian, who is a San Diego native and attended Torrey Pines High School, currently lives in Del Mar with his wife Michelle and their 15-year-old rescue pup named Dixie. “I really love autumn in Del Mar,” shared Brian. “The weather is perfect and the crowds begin to subdue, so the local coastal community really begins to thrive once again.”


Name: Brian Schmaltz
Community: Del Mar
Profession: Global Business Development Manager for NAMICS / Partner in Library Collection Wine
Family: My wife Michelle and our 15-year-old rescue rat terrier Dixie
Hobbies & Interests: Art, music, hiking, deep sea fishing, golf
Favorite Local Spots: Belly Up, Pizza Port, Tidewater, Pamplemousse, and the track


Brian’s day job is at NAMICS, where he works to provide cutting-edge conductive and insulating materials for the electronics industry. “Recently, I completed my Business Management Certificate in Global Commerce at UCSD,” he noted. “With how fast the world moves, you should never stop trying to learn something new.”

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Brian noted that it is perseverance that has served as his greatest inspiration in his winemaking endeavors. “Looking around every day I see people who chose to excel at their profession or passion, and that inspires me,” he shared. “If someone tells me it cannot be done or to quit, I will prove them incorrect.”

When asked to provide some advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, Brian replied, “Don’t give up. It is important to find something you are truly passionate about and let it kill you – at least you will have a smile on your face.”