A closer look at some of our favorite family vintners
The story of J Vineyards & Winery begins in 1986, when founder Judy Jordan followed her dream of starting a winery specializing in sparkling wine. As a 25-year-old Stanford University graduate in earth sciences/geology, Judy understood the land. Her belief that soil enriches the flavors of the fruit influenced her pursuit of unique California terroir and “a sense of place” for growing wine grapes. This journey led her to Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, known for cool-climate grape growing and a great diversity of soils.
After a few years of making critically acclaimed Méthode Champenoise sparkling wines, she came to the realization
that her Russian River Valley vineyards would also be ideal for producing site-specific, varietal wines. Judy Jordan, always curious and innovating, launched her first single vineyard pinot noir in 1994. J Vineyards & Winery has thrived since that first pinot noir release, adding estate-grown Russian River Valley chardonnay, and pinot gris. Today, J owns 10 sustainably farmed estate vineyards, eight in the Russian River Valley and two on the “true” Sonoma Coast.
Food friendly and acclaimed, the wines from J Vineyards & Winery can fit any occasion, from the restaurant table to the holiday table. You can find out more about Judy’s wines at jwine.com.
CONWAY FAMILY WINES
Conway Family Wines is based in Santa Barbara County, where much of the land planted to grapevines is located 20 miles or less from the Pacific Ocean. With an abundance of sunlight, warm temperatures, and practically no rain, the 2014 harvest brought in delicious flavor-packed fruit that promises be a fantastic vintage. Coastal air is cooler than inland regions, and the geology of the land in Santa Barbara County (particularly notable in Santa Rita Hills) lends itself to trapping cool air and moisture in the valleys. Grapes grown in these areas are positively impacted by what we call the “ocean effect” that allows the grapes we use for Deep Sea to ripen over a longer period of time.
The pinot noir this year had intense flavors that will develop nicely into those traditional notes of cherry, smoke, and rose petal one might expect from Santa Barbara. At our estate in the dry-farmed Potrero Vineyard, we brought in several tons
of exquisite grenache, syrah, and zinfandel. A labor of love, these small lots kept my family and our winemaker Andrew Adam standing over sorting tables for hours until our backs gave out, covered in sticky juice while painstakingly removing any unwanted vineyard debris from the fruit. A first for Conway Family Wines, and an indicator of the unusual nature of this vintage, the last grapes we harvested were chardonnay grapes from the White Hills Vineyard in the Los Alamos/Santa Maria Valley region. Spectacular flavors matched with near perfect acids and harvest numbers have us all looking forward to the eventual release of this wonderful, dry vintage.
Go to conwayfamilywines.com for more information.
Jean-Charles leads Boisset Collection with passionate commitment to fine wine, history, quality, and a deep respect for the environment. In 2003, Jean-Charles brought DeLoach Vineyards, a pioneering producer of pinot noir, chardonnay,
and zinfandel in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley, into the family collection. He immediately recognized the similarities to Burgundy: each boasts a confluence of river and mountains and soil that is perfect for growing world-class pinot noir. He began a mission inspired by his Burgundian heritage to produce terroir- driven wines with the same commitment to terroir, and organic and biodynamic farming he had instituted in Burgundy.
In 2009, Jean-Charles’ quest for California wineries steeped in history, heritage, and a pioneering spirit, led him to Raymond Vineyards in the Napa Valley, where five generations of family winemaking anchors it to the earliest days of the Napa Valley. Under his vision, Raymond has become a leading producer of luxury fine wines, implemented organic and biodynamic farming on its 100-acre Rutherford estate, and become one of the most dynamic winery destinations in California. In 2011, Jean-Charles’ dream of championing California wine history became a reality when Buena Vista Winery, California’s first premium winery, became a part of Boisset Family Estates.
Learn more about the Boisset Collection at boissetcollection.com.
Argyle has been handcrafting fine wines since 1987, when we became the first Oregon winery to make Méthode Champenoise sparkling wine. Today, we not only produce some of the finest vintage American sparkling wines, we also craft world-class pinot noir, chardonnay, and riesling. No other American winery but Argyle has earned recognition in Wine Spectator’s “Top 100 Wines of the World” in three wine categories: red, white, and sparkling.
Argyle farms 400 acres in Oregon’s Willamette Valley — our Knudsen Vineyard in the Dundee Hills AVA, Lone Star Vineyard
in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, and Spirit Hill Vineyard, also in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. A socially responsible, grower-driven winery, Argyle has earned L.I.V.E. (Low Impact Viticulture & Enology) and Salmon Safe designations.
Pioneering viticulture for over 30 years, Argyle has focused on continually improving the viticulture in our vineyards. We are a “grower first” with 100 percent of our wines coming from our distinct Argyle-farmed vineyards. We are recognized as having been at the forefront of Oregon’s viticultural revolution, and as a pioneer in high-density vines grown on de-vigorating rootstock. Argyle was the first Oregon winery to use Dijon clone chardonnay and pinot noir for “grower” sparkling wine.
Go to argylewinery.com for more on these Oregon wines.
JORDAN VINEYARD AND WINERY
Rob Davis holds the rare distinction in California of serving as winemaker at a singular winery for more than 35 years. He arrived in the Alexander Valley in 1976 to oversee production of Jordan’s inaugural vintage: a cabernet sauvignon made in the Bordeaux style. By 1979, Davis introduced a chardonnay with the hope of someday discovering in Sonoma County a distinct minerality similar to the great white wines of Burgundy. His tremendous technical background, empirical wisdom, desire for discovery, and meticulous quality standards remain a guiding force in the vineyards and cellars at Jordan.
Immediately after receiving a bachelor’s degree in fermentation science from the University of California-Davis, Davis accepted the winemaker position at Jordan, excited about the opportunity to apprentice under a man considered America’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker, André Tchelistcheff, who had been hired by the Jordan family as consulting oenologist. “I went to two schools to learn about winemaking,” Davis says, “the school at Davis and the school of André Tchelistcheff.”
Find out more about Davis and his meticulously crafted wines at jordanwinery.com.