Thursday, July 14, 2011

Introducing Melissa Stackhouse!

J Vineyards & Winery, the Russian River Valley sparkling and varietal wine producer, has appointed Melissa Stackhouse as its new Vice President of Winemaking.

Stackhouse will lead a dedicated winemaking team in solidifying J’s 25-year reputation as a top Sonoma County sparkling wine house, and build on the winery’s budding estate-driven varietal wine program.

“Melissa brings a wealth of Russian River Valley experience that will lift J to a new level of Estate-driven Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris winemaking,” said J Vineyards & Winery Founder and President, Judy Jordan. “She possesses a unique ability to connect with people, but it is her amazing skill as a winemaker that defines her, and will help shape my vision for J.”

Stackhouse is a graduate of the University of California at Davis where she earned a Bachelor degree in Viticulture and Enology in 1998. She was Winemaker at La Crema from 2003 to 2010, and most recently, Pinot Noir Winemaster for all Jackson Family Wines.
“I look forward to walking Judy’s Estate vineyards with an eye on the fast-approaching 2011 harvest,” said Stackhouse. “Winemaking at J will retain its intimacy and authenticity, rooted in the soil, clones, and everything Mother Nature has to offer.”


J Vineyards & Winery is located at 11447 Old Redwood Highway south of Healdsburg. The winery focuses on Brut and Brut Rosé sparkling wines, as well as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris Estate varietal wines, produced from grapes farmed primarily within Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley appellation.

Founded by Judy Jordan in 1986, J Vineyards & Winery is an independently owned Sonoma County winery. The winery is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year. To learn more, or to join the J Wine Club, go to

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Featured Club J Members "Brad & Donna MCLean"!

Featured Members

Brad & Donna MCLean
At the J Visitor Center Fountain

What Brad & Donna Have To Say
About J Vineyards & Winery!

"Thank-you so much for the fun time we had at the winery. What a special experience it is every time we visit, and this one has certainly been a topic of conversation ever since we got home. Thanks again for the wonderful visit, and the fantastic wines!"
–Brad & Donna

How long have you been a J Club member?

Brad & Donna: We just became members this visit, but we’ve loved the wines for years!

What do you like best about Club J?

Brad & Donna: Having access to regular shipments of the glorious wines. They are sometimes hard to find here in Alabama, so we have our shipments sent to friends in Georgia. It gives us a great excuse to go and visit them, and share some good wine and fun times.

What is your favorite J Wine & Food Pairing?

Brad & Donna: J Chardonnay with fresh grilled salmon, wild rice pilaf with grilled portabellas, and grilled asparagus. YUM!

Brad & Donna’s Special Interests
They Would Like To Share!

Our rescue cats are named "J" Chardonnay,
Napa Cabernet, and Sonoma Cutrer.

This is our "J" Chardonnay; she is the princess in our cat family, and definitely our most lovable, by far. But all 3 of them are very friendly to everyone. Not your typical cats. Maybe it’s all in their names.

"J" Chardonnay

This is her brother Napa………

And her other brother Sonoma………

And here are all three of them together…..…
"J" Chardonnay, Sonoma & Napa

And here’s the family photo from when they were kittens……..
It has been difficult to get one since then.
–Brad & Donna

To inquire about becoming a Featured Club J Member, please contact Elisa Brennan at, or visit  our J Tasting Room and the Wine Specialists will be happy  to obtain your feedback and photo.

We look forward to seeing you featured on the J Vineyards & Winery Facebook Fan Page!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Here’s our new J Brut Rosé in a clear bottle with a sexy black J! Look for it at J Vineyards & Winery or your favorite retailer or restaurant this holiday season!

The new J Brut Rosé video shows the bottles going through the inspection light to ensure all the bottles are in perfect condition.  Prior to the inspection light, the bottles were disgorged.  Following the inspection the bottles will have the foils added to the top and neck of the bottle and allowed to rest for another 3-6 months before release.

Do you know how sparkling wine is made?  Here is a brief overview of J sparkling wine production from the vineyard to the bottle:

Harvest & Vineyards
All grapes for our J sparkling wines are hand-harvested into small quarter ton bins and placed as whole clusters, without destemming, into our special Coquard press for a gentle pressing cycle.  The grapes for our J sparkling wines were selected from J’s Estate Vineyards in the Russian River Valley. Our vineyards yield a balanced crop of clean, flavorful grapes that exhibit bright, lush aromas. 

 What makes the Coquard so special? No need to rotate the press as it operates like a basket, less production of solids and phenolic extraction, less processing on the front end, producing higher quality juice.

All vineyard lots are kept separate as are cuvée and taille fractions.  Cuvée is the “free-run” juice, highest quality, most flavors, acid, and best balance.  Taille is the “press” juice, good structure but requires higher psi for yield.   All juice is fermented at cool temperatures (~ 60oF) to preserve fruit and aromatics.

Assemblage (blending)
Each lot is evaluated and the cuvées are blended to the highest standards.

Filter + Sugar + Yeast
Once the blends are made the wine is filtered, and a small amount of sugar is added for the secondary fermentation. After secondary fermentation in the bottle, the wine ages for an average of 36 months in our cool cellars. The day of bottling, yeast is added and the bottles are secured with a bidule, a small plastic cup that fits in the bottle's neck and into which the sediment eventually settles.  A crown cap secures the closure.

The bottled wine is stored in a cool warehouse, on its side, where the second fermentation completes in about six weeks.  By conducting the second fermentation in a sealed vessel, this captures the CO2 which is a normal by-product of fermentation (YEAST + SUGAR = CO2 + EtOH), giving sparkling wine its bubbles!  The rest of the time on tirage is spent aging - allowing the yeast to breakdown and adds complexity to the wine that enhance bouquet, flavors, and mouthfeel. Longer tirage time also means smaller bubbles.

The bottles are transferred to our riddling racks where they go through a series of twists and turns to collect all the yeast cells and sediment into the neck of the bottle.

After riddling, the bottles “rest” for a period of 1-3 months neck down in a cold room. This allows the yeast cells to compact, and by keeping the wine cool its easier to disgorge. The neck of the bottle is frozen, freezing the yeast so when the crown cap is removed, the frozen yeast is blown out by the pressure from the second fermentation, clarifying the wine of any sediment. A small amount of dosage (reserve wine + sugar) is added back to the wine for balance.The bottle is then corked with a wire cap, foiled, and allowed to rest for another 3-6 months before release.

Enjoy J!
J Vineyards & Winery
11447 Old Redwood Highway
Healdsburg, CA 95448
707.431.5400 - Main
707.431.3646 - Vistor Center