Monday, June 28, 2010

Kathryn Lindstrom of J Vineyards & Winery Honored for Women in Business 2010

Women in Business 2010: Wine: Kathryn Lindstrom
By Jeff Quackenbush, Business Journal Staff Reporter, June 25th, 2010

General manager and chief financial officer
J Vineyards & Winery
11447 Old Redwood Highway
Healdsburg 95448

HEALDSBURG – Passion and pragmatism drew Kathryn Lindstrom to apply her lifelong love of mathematics to navigating a number of luxury-tier wineries through their turbulent organizational and economic times over the past two decades.

At the helm since 2006 as general manager and chief financial officer, Ms. Lindstrom has been carrying out founder and Chief Executive Officer Judy Jordan’s goal starting in 1999 to create separate sparkling and varietal wine operations under one roof.

“I wanted a balance of strong fiscal responsibility with a drive for quality production and service here at J Vineyards & Winery,” Ms. Jordan said about selecting Ms. Lindstrom from other candidates.

At the same time, Ms. Lindstrom has been putting to use accounting, finance, operations and management skills developed over the years to keep the ventures moving during a challenging market for fine wines in the past two years.

“Now, for every dollar you need to get a significant return on assets and get the investment back at a higher rate,” she said.

Yet adjusting the momentum of a winemaking business, in which it can take four to six years from vine planting to bottle filling, is tricky, particularly when the economic currents shifted as quickly as they did in 2009, according to Ms. Lindstrom.

“It caught most of us in the industry by surprise,” she said.

Yet as challenging as financial forecasting is these days, J’s continuing transformation plus an increasing array of winemaking and sales metrics is helping the company stay on a more even keel, Ms. Lindstrom said.

For example, winemaking software now supplies even small wineries with information helpful in tracking costs and make precise adjustments. Also helping are computerized point-of-sale systems in tasting rooms as well as customer transactions and commercial banking both over the Internet. Decreasing costs for depletion data give operable information on a timely basis even to the small winery.

“Kathryn has risen to the occasion working toward finding new and innovative ways that we as a winery can continue our path of quality wine production and excellent service while driving fiscal responsibility and accountability through our winemaking operations,” Ms. Jordan said.

One necessary part of cost containment in challenging times is contract negotiation.

“You’re not always in a position of power, but you still need to go through with it and maintain relationships,” Ms. Lindstrom said. “Right now, there are short-term needs, and I need to balance them with long-term relationships.”

Key long-term bonds with growers of grapes are integral to the brand’s reputation. While working with Dick Arrowood at Arrowood Vineyards & Winery in Glen Ellen, she learned from him the importance of those relationships. Sometimes the winery needs flexibility from growers on contract terms to meet bottle sales, and sometimes the growers need similar help from the winery.

In fact, Mr. Arrowood is among her key career mentors, which also include Vic Motto and Mike Fisher, now with St. Helena investment bank Global Wine Partners.

“I worked hard to make choices that fit my career to get to this point,” she said.

Accounting and finance have been growing career fields for women since she started. In the wine business, many money-related departments have a large female representation. Ms. Lindstrom’s career used managing money as a course toward managing companies.

She graduated cum laude with an undergraduate business administration degree from Humboldt State University in Arcata. A top mathematics contestant in high school, she opted to concentrate on accounting in college rather than engineering or architecture, though she studied building design also.

After college she spent three years as a senior auditor in Deloitte & Touche’s Santa Rosa office in the early 1990s. From there she progressed to become an audit manager at wine-focused accounting and consulting firm Motto Kryla & Fisher in St. Helena, now called Frank Rimmerman & Co.

In 1995, she decided to learn more about running a luxury wine business, joining Peter Michael Winery in Calistoga as controller.

That led to her first management position, vice president and chief financial officer of Arrowood in 1998. She developed the management team and a marketing-heavy long-range plan.

Mr. Arrowood gave her a list of new disciplines to master, including the artistic side of the business. The allure of the luxury wine business is what attracted her to pursue wine accounting.

“The wine industry is a perfect blend of art and science,” she said.

Yet she found herself at first having more in common with growers, whose pragmatism had been honed over decades of agricultural variability.

In 2000, she was involved in the negotiations with Robert Mondavi Corp. for the acquisition of Arrowood.

At that time she was given the role of general manager of finance and operations of Arrowood.

In 2002 she was appointed as director of finance and administration for Oakville’s Opus One Winery, started in 1980 as a joint venture between Robert Mondavi Corp. and Baron Phillip de Rothschild S.A.

The professionalism brought with Robert Mondavi Corp. went up with Opus One, in having to report to an international board of directors, according to Ms. Lindstrom.

Constellation Brands acquired Robert Mondavi Corp. in 2005. A year later Ms. Jordan recruited Ms. Lindstrom to lead the remaking of J. Part of that included winding down a custom-winemaking contract with Remy for the 100,000-case-a-year Piper-Sonoma sparking wine.

That move worked well to position J for the 2009 crash in fine wine sales, because the extra capacity was put into producing a $20-a-bottle Cuvee 20 bubbly brand to reach a new sweet spot in ultrapremium wine pricing.

At J, Ms. Lindstrom heightened her food-and-wine sensory skill set through the chef’s creations. Such elegance, exemplified in the Bubble Room tasting salon, was one of the core values she worked with Ms. Jordan to develop. One of Ms. Lindstrom’s favorite parts of the job is communicating those values to the staff and then using those values as performance metrics.

“It’s about building momentum of the company culture,” she said. “It’s always been there, but now it is more structured.”

Link to Kathryn Lindstrom video interview:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Very Good Pinot Gris! - PinotFile for J 2009 Pinot Gris, California

A superb food wine and the best example of Pinot Gris produced in California.

2009 J California Pinot Gris

Sourced from the Russian River Valley, Monterey County and the Sacramento River Delta region. Fermented in stainless steel tanks with no MLF. Winemaker George Bursick.

Slight frizz upon pouring. Attractive aromas of tropical fruits, bananas, and lemon meringue tart. Bright and tasty with crisp flavors of yuzu, lemon curd, lychee, pear and pineapple. Very creamy in the mouth with a slightly tart finish.

Truly Exceptional Pinot Noir! - PinotFile for J Vineyards 2007 Barrel 16 Pinot Noir

2007 J Vineyards Barrel 16 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

16 special barrels chosen by the winemaker, George Bursick. 100% destemmed. Aged 12 months in 30% new French oak barrels and 3 additional months after blending.

Nicely composed array of aromas including red berries and cherries, sassafras and oak spices. Wow! Delicious berry melange nicely spiced with hints of mocha, sassafras and melon. Almost a spiced muffin flavor. A unique wine of modest intensity with a silky smooth texture, mild fine-grain tannins and admirable finesse. Decant if you pop the cork now.

A special occasion Pinot Noir.

Highly Recommended! - Miami Herald for J 2009 Pinot Gris, California

June 10, 2010

2009 J Vineyards Pinot Gris, California

Summertime, and the livin' is easy. We tuck away the big cabernet sauvignons and barolos to mellow until fall. We break out the crisp, cool, light-bodied whites to go with fish grilled on the patio or chicken salads packed into picnic baskets.

These days, the wine of choice for such endeavors is pinot grigio. Or pinot gris, if you want to be French about it. It probably originated in northern Italy, where pinot means pine, for the pine-cone shape of the grape bunches, and grigio means gray, for the frequent hue of the grapes.

A decade ago you hardly saw the wine in U.S. shops and supermarkets. Today it's one of the fastest-growing grapes, with California acreage soaring five-fold since 2000.

At its best, pinot grigio is light and crisp, with aromas of camellias, flavors of white peaches and a nice, tart, lime-tinged finish.

At its worst, it's never worse than neutral, unlike, say, a bad sauvignon blanc, which can be absolutely stinky.

In a practical world, this is one of its biggest advantages. From a hideously overpriced wine list, one can always order the cheapest pinot grigio. You might not dazzle your guests, but you won't offend them.

But let's not damn with faint praise. A good pinot grigio is a delight -- fragrant, crisp, light, cool, tangy, refreshing, fruity -- and cheap. That's the other nice thing about it. You seldom see a bottle over $15.

Winemakers know a good thing. They wisely make pinot grigio/gris in ways that emphasize its advantages.

They pick it in the cool early mornings, rush it to the crushing pads, ferment it cool in temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks and forgo the oak-barrel aging that might dull the intensity of its fruit.

The better winemakers age it on its lies, that is, the detritus of its grape skins, stems and leaves, and stir it occasionally, which adds a silky quality. They bottle it in airtight screw caps because it is best drunk within a year of its release.

Typically, a pinot grigio is lighter, crisper, higher in acid. A pinot gris is fuller, richer, higher in alcohol. In France's Alsace region, a pinot gris might even be slightly sweet.

So, with summer here and vacations nearing, the pinot grigio season has begun.

2009 J Vineyards Pinot Gris, Calif.: crisp and intensely fruity, with flavors of oranges, hints of vanilla, silky texture and a tart finish; $15.

• 2008 Marco Felluga Pinot Grigio ``Mongris,'' DOC Collio, Italy: aromas and flavors of camellias and green apples, silky and smooth, lemon-lime finish; $18.

• 2008 Hahn SLH Estate Pinot Gris, Santa Lucia Highlands: big, bold and creamy, with golden apple flavors and a hint of honey; $20.
• 2008 Murphy-Goode Pinot Grigio, Calif.: golden apples and spice, with a tart lemony finish; $12.50.
• 2007 Robert Pepi Pinot Grigio, Calif.: light and crisp, with green melon and green apple flavors, tart finish; $11.
• Nonvintage Barefoot Cellars Pinot Grigio, Calif. (pinot grigio, symphony, muscat, viognier and malvasia bianca grapes): light and crisp and slightly sweet, with ripe peach flavors; $7.
• 2009 Woodbridge Pinot Grigio, by Robert Mondavi, Calif. (pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, semillon, other aromatic white grapes): light and crisp, with aromas and flavors of white peaches and tart lime finish; $8.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Chef Mark E. Caldwell From J And His Five Spiced Duck And Wasabi Mashed Potatoes Recipe

May 28th, 2010

Mark Caldwell with his culinary creations paired with J wines.

When J Vineyards & Winery opened its tasting room in 1999, they were the first Russian River Valley winery to offer exquisite plates of food perfectly paired to its wines. Since joining J in 2003, Executive Chef Mark E. Caldwell has elevated its food and wine pairing program to an even higher, more sophisticated level.

Given that the Bay Area has an abundance of fresh, locally-grown produce and artisan food products available, Mark passionately changes his menus regularly to showcase seasonal foods. Some of Caldwell’s favorite dishes paired with J wines have included Dungeness Crab with Curry Crème Fraîche atop a Green Onion Basmati Rice Cake paired with Russian River Valley Pinot Gris, Braised Painted Hills Beef Short Ribs with a Coffee and Pinot Noir Reduction topped with a Horseradish Cream matched with a Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, and Saigon Pumpkin Pottage with Pork, Chicken and Shrimp paired with a crisp Russian River Valley Chardonnay.

At an early age, Mark knew he was destined to become a chef. His dad volunteered to manage the cooking and catering for his family’s local church in Cupertino, California, while Mark found himself in the kitchen helping his mom make meals for the family. As the eighth of 10 children, feeding the family was like catering a small dinner party so his mom always appreciated the extra hands—no matter how small. Mark soon moved from the family kitchen and into restaurants around Northern California.

Mark enrolled in San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy and graduated in 2001. At the CCA, he was most inspired by a food and wine pairing class taught by Jerry Comfort, Beringer Winery’s gourmet chef and culinary director. Mark became fascinated with how wine changed food and food changed wine in complementary fashions, discovering it’s a science and an art form. Fresh from graduation, he accepted an externship with Chateau Souverain in Geyserville as the kitchen’s Garde Manager until April 2003.

Mark claims to have the best job at J Vineyards & Winery. He loves having an outlet that allows for delicious, creative expression, the challenge of discovering new flavor combinations to pair with J’s wines, and he loves watching someone take a bite out of his food and a sip of wine and then smile—the ultimate satisfaction for a chef.

Pan Seared Five Spice Muscovy Duck Breast with Wasabi Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Recipe courtesy of Executive Chef Mark E. Caldwell, J Vineyards & Winery

Pinot Noir Reduction
1½ cups J Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

¾ cup Shallots, chopped coarse

3 sprigs Flat Leaf Parsley

3 sprigs Thyme

2 cloves Garlic, crushed

1 cup Chicken Stock

2 cups Veal Stock

½ pound Whole Butter cubed

2-3 Star Anise (whole)

Salt and Pepper to taste

In a saucepan over medium high heat reduce chicken and veal stock to 1 cup.

In a separate saucepan combine wine, star anise, shallots, thyme, parsley and garlic over medium high heat bring to a simmer and reduce to ¼ cup. Strain liquid through a chinois into reduced stocks. Turn heat to low and whisk in cubed butter. Adjust salt and pepper to desired taste.

Duck Breasts
2 Muscovy Duck Breasts, boneless ( 12-14 ounces each)

¼ cup Five Spice powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

Using paper towels pat dry the duck. Take a sharp knife and score the skin on each breast in a crosshatch pattern being careful not to cut into the meat. Then season with salt, pepper and five spice powder, and rub the spices into the breasts and coating the skin well. Let the duck sit for thirty minutes. Preheat oven to 350°.

Place a heavy skillet over high heat. It is not necessary to add oil or butter as the duck skin will render fat when cooking. When skillet is hot, place duck skin side down and cook for 2-3 minutes then flip duck over and cook another 2-3 minutes. Remove from stove drain fat from pan and place in the oven for 13-20 minutes checking the center of the breast with a thermometer to read 135° for medium rare, 140° for medium.

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts
20. Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved

As needed Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°. Place Brussels sprouts in a bowl and toss with olive oil. Place on a sheet pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper to desired taste. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until tender when pierced with a knife.

Wasabi Mashed Potatoes
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (peeled and quartered)

½ cup Heavy Cream

¼ cup Butter

Wasabi Powder Amount will vary depending on desired strength (mix equal parts with water)

Salt and White Pepper to taste

Place potatoes in stockpot, fill with cold water to cover potatoes and add a pinch of salt. Bring pot to a boil and cook until tender about 10-15 minutes. Drain, then mash or use a food mill, then add cream, butter, Wasabi and salt and pepper to taste, mixing well. Keep Warm.

Link to story on Inside Sonoma:

Women in Business Awards to Honor Kathryn Lindstrom of J Vineyards & Winery

Women in Business awards to celebrate 10th anniversary

Posted By Business Journal Staff Report On June 3, 2010

89 women honored over the past decade

NORTH BAY — The North Bay Business Journal will celebrate 10 years of honoring female leaders, innovators and visionaries across a wide range of professions at its Women in Business Awards Gala on June 24 at the Doubletree Hotel in Rohnert Park.

The awards gala, which will be emceed by culinary media star Marcy Smothers, will feature a select panel of past winners to discuss great challenges, achievements and inspiring stories of their success. The discussion, moderated by Debbie Meekins of Sonoma Bank, a Women in Business founder, will include 2002 Wine winner Judy Jordan of J Vineyards & Winery, 2007 Environmental Services winner Patty Garbarino of Marin Sanitary Service, 2008 Hospitality winner Elaine Bell of Elaine Bell Catering and 2009 Construction winner Marlene Soiland of Soiland Management Co.

Tickets for the evening program are $74 per person or $725 for a table of 8, including company name on the table. To register, contact Linda Perkins at 707-521-5264 or or online at

This year’s winners to be honored at the event are:
Carole Bionda, Nova Group, Construction; Cynthia Murray, North Bay Leadership Council, Economic Development; Debra Miller, St. Joseph Health System-Sonoma County, Human Resources; Brenda Gilchrist, The HR Matrix, Entrepreneurship; Linda Kachiu, Zainer Rinehart Clarke, Financial Services; Elaine John, St. Helena Hospital Foundation, Health Care; Catherine Bartolomei, Farmhouse Inn, Restaurant & Spa, Hospitality and Tourism; Denise Frey, YWCA Sonoma County, Nonprofit; Rachel Dollar, Smith Dollar, Professional Services; and Kathryn Lindstrom, J Vineyards & Winery, Wine.

The profiles of award winners will also be featured in a special publication supplementing the June 28 issue of the North Bay Business Journal.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dilek Sezen’s superior handcrafted jewels paired with J Vineyards exceptionally handcrafted jewels!

July 24, 2010
11:00am - 5:00pm

J Vineyards & Winery
11447 Old Redwood Highway
Healdsburg, CA 95448

707 431-3646

Event open to: All Welcome

Join us to celebrate "Jewels and J": Dilek Sezen’s superior handcrafted jewels paired with J Vineyards exceptionally handcrafted jewels. A dazzling experience of fine wine and exquisite jewelry in the contemporary jewel-box surroundings of the J Visitor Center. Enjoy five pairings and discover the elegant connection between J’s extraordinary wines and Dilek’s brilliant gemstones. Executive Chef Mark E. Caldwell will prepare hors d’oeuvres to accompany the wines and rare gems.

Dilek Sezen is an Istanbul-born jewelry designer whose custom fine jewelry has earned her many prestigious awards. Her approach is one of couture art so that her unique creations are an exquisite blend of contemporary designs and traditional jewelry of ancient civilizations. Dilek’s international clientele is eager for her handcrafted, one of- a-kind pieces which distinguish her from other designers.

Tickets for this event are $25 per person.
$10 for wine club members.
No reservation is required for this event; tickets may be purchased on site that day.

J Vineyards Pinot Noir is a Standout Varietal from the Healdsburg Area - Jon Bonné of the San Francisco Chronicle!