Wednesday, August 25, 2010



HEALDSBURG, CALIFORNIA— (August 25, 2010) — With the arrival of warmer weather along Sonoma County’s coastal hills and valleys, the 2010 grape harvest at J Vineyards & Winery kicked into high gear. Harvest crews were busy picking Pinot Noir grapes from J’s “Nicole’s” and “Robert Thomas” Russian River Valley estate vineyards throughout the early morning hours, arriving just in time for a short “Blessing of the Grapes” ceremony at the winery.

Heavy coastal fog and low clouds shrouded the region in June, July, and most of August, pushing the annual grape harvest back about three weeks. Temperatures, however, began to spike warmer this week, pushing the coastal clouds offshore and helping grapes destined for sparkling wine to mature to their desired ripeness and bright acidity. The varietal wine harvest throughout J’s ten Russian River Valley estate vineyards is expected to begin by mid-September.

“We finally hit our optimum sugar levels for sparkling wine,” said J Viticulturalist John Erbe. “We will continue concentrating on sparkling wine for the next three weeks, and then follow up with a three-week harvest of our grapes bound for varietal wines.”

With the harvest delayed due to the unusually cool weather, both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay appear to be ripening on a parallel path. Such a compressed, rigorous harvest can push a winery to its limits. At J Vineyards & Winery, a complex “battle plan” has been put in place by winemaker George Bursick to make both the sparkling wine and varietal wine harvest transition smoothly.

“J’s ‘two wineries under one roof’ production concept comes naturally to our team,” said George Bursick, Vice President of Winemaking. “Everyone has a key role — whether making sparkling wine or varietal wines — to ensure that the grapes John Erbe has nurtured are turned into extraordinary wines.”

“Mother Nature definitely threw us a curve ball this year; however, the extended grape hang-time has allowed for some stunning flavors to develop. Everyone at the winery is excited about vintage 2010’s quality,” Bursick added.

The winery, located on Old Redwood Highway south of Healdsburg, focuses on Brut and Brut Rosé sparkling wines, as well as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris varietal wines, produced from grapes farmed primarily within Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley appellation.

The winery, founded by Judy Jordan in 1986, will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary next year.

To learn more about the winery, or to join the J Wine Club, please call (707) 431-3646, or go to

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pam & Alan Bergstrom in support of Dana Farber Cancer Research Institute with J Vineyards Cycling Jerseys!

Pam & Alan Bergstrom

A quick note to thank J Vineyards for the quick delivery of the bike shirts. We wore them during the Pan Mass Challenge, a 2 day bike ride to support Dana Farber Cancer Research Institute in Boston, MA. We were asked many questions about the winery from fellow riders, so hopefully you got some good publicity too!

Attached is a picture of us at a rest stop during the ride.  Thank you again!
Kind regards,

Pam & Alan Bergstrom
Mountain Stream Farm
New Jersey

Livestrong Cycling Jersey - J Vineyards
The Lance Armstrong Foundation is a registered non-profit organization located in Austin, TX which was established in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist, Lance Armstrong. The LAF unites, inspires and empowers people with cancer.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Judy Jordan is blazing her own trail through J Vineyards & Winery in the Russian River Valley

Taking over a successful family business sounds like a cush job most people dream of…key word being “most!” Judy Jordan, daughter of Jordan Winery founder Tom Jordan, decided to take a different path, founding her own business, J Vineyards and Winery, in 1986. Her intention was to honor her family’s heritage and capture the essence of California’s Russian River Valley through the production of world class sparkling and single varietal wines.

Judy Jordan, J Founder & President

Approved as an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 1983, the highly acclaimed Russian River Valley is found along the Western side of Sonoma County before emptying into the Pacific Ocean. The region is blessed with long, steady growing seasons thanks to its proximity to the ocean and cooling effects created by a blanket of fog that blankets its vineyards in the morning hours. These conditions have allowed the Russian River to build a name for itself with the Burgundian varietals, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Presently the Russian River Valley has approximately 15,000 acres under vine, is home to about 150 wineries and over 200 growers. This competition has led to some stiff competition among Chardonnay and Pinot Noir producers, and J Vineyards has risen to the challenge.

For almost 25 years, J Vineyards had been focusing on producing their signature, sparkling wines. Recently, however, they’ve added a new collection to their varietal-series of wines, including an Alsatian specialty, Pinot Gris. I recently had the pleasure of receiving a sampling of these new releases.

2009 J Vineyards California Pinot Gris: This crisp, refreshing white is 100% Pinot Gris sourced primarily from the Russian River Valley. Whole grape clusters are gently pressed to minimize the extraction of harsh components from the skins and seeds. This wine had a delightfully citrusy nose and zesty lemon-lime on the palate with great acidity and tart, refreshing mineral finish. Fermented in stainless steel to preserve its fresh flavors and varietal character, this bottling is conveniently sealed with a Stelvin closure. This is the ideal wine to pair with oysters, grilled shrimp or a beautiful plateau de fruits de mer.

2007 J Vineyards Russian River Valley Chardonnay: This elegant expression of Russian River Valley Chard is 100% barrel-fermented and aged in 60-gallon Burgundian oak barrels (40% new). A six-month malolactic fermentation is then carried out, resulting in a creamy, rich, sur lie character. Enticing aromas of butterscotch, tropical fruit and toasted hazelnuts were followed by rich, complex layers of fruit, spice and minerality with a creamy mouthfeel and long, lingering finish. Pair this full bodied wine with decadent dishes such as Lobster Mac and Cheese dusted with freshly grated nutmeg and you are all set!

2007 J Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir: While the Russian River Valley is known for its fabulous Chardonnay, Pinot Noir is its hallmark! A variety of Pinot Noir clones were used to produce this wine in order to convey a comprehensive expression of Russian River Valley Pinot. Aged for 15 months in French oak barrels (30% new), this wine spends another six months in the bottle prior to release. In the glass, this wine was a classic, translucent ruby red color with alluring aromas of ripe cherries, violets and earth. On the palate, ripe black cherries, cassis and cocoa mingled with a sexy, earthy spice that was executed in an elegant, yet restrained style. Executive Chef for J Vineyards & Winery, Mark Caldwell, recommends pairing this delicious Pinot Noir with Wild Mushroom Duxelles or Seared Lamb Loin with Black Truffle Tapenade – I’d do what the man says!

Ranging in price from $16-$35, these new offerings from J Vineyards and Winery represent lovely expressions of Russian River Valley terroir. Better yet, these can be found at an approachable price, whereas much of their neighbor’s wines have seen their prices soar. This winery also subscribes to the philosophy that food and wine are meant to be enjoyed together (gotta love that).

Very Highly Recommended! The Augusta Chronicle for J Cuvée 20 Brut NV, Russian River Valley

5 Stars - Sparkler with the Wow Factor! Deacnter September 2010 Best of California Guide

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


The summer of 2010 has been an exceptional year for growing redwood trees and rhododendrons; however, the unusually cold weather has proved to be a challengefor wine grapes.

Those who farm Sonoma County vineyards along the Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley have seen temperatures hover in the 60s and 70s, as opposed to 80s and 90s, for most of the growing season. At this point, the unusual weather pattern has had only positive effects on the quality of the fruit slowly growing on the vines. The late start to grape maturation, however, has growers concerned about wrapping up the harvest before the fall rains appear in October.

While much of the nation wilts under high temperatures, a low-pressure weather system has been parked off the North Coast of California, pumping moderating air and coastal fog into the hills and valleys of Sonoma County throughout June and July.

“We pride ourselves on growing grapes in the cool climate of the Russian River Valley,” says J Viticulturalist John Erbe, “but this cold summer weather has put the brakes on a harvest that typically would have already started.”

John Erbe, J Viticulturalist

“Verasion is taking place in most of our Pinot Noir vineyards, and that generally means we will begin harvest in about 30-45 days,” says Erbe. “Our concerns will ease should a warmer summer weather pattern arrive. At this stage, we expect to be picking grapes for our sparkling wine just before Labor Day, a good two to three weeks late.”

Verasion in Nicole’s Vineyard

J Vineyards & Winery is one of the few producers in California to make both sparkling and varietal wines. Located on Old Redwood Highway south of Healdsburg, J focuses on Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, farmed on its ten estate vineyards sprinkled throughout the Russian River Valley. In recent years an emphasis has been placed on developing a varietal wine program uniquely separate from its famed sparkling wines.

The winery, founded by Judy Jordan in 1986, will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary next year. To learn more about the winery, or to join the J Wine Club, please call (707) 431-3646, or go to