Monday, July 30, 2012

Harvest is Coming, Harvest is Coming!

It Takes a Wine Village to make every bottle of inspired J, especially during harvest.  We are so appreciative of our adoring J Fans that we want to share the hard-working J Harvest Team Members that bring your favorite bottles of J to your table for sharing with family and friends.

J Team Member: Juan
Position at J: Lab Technician
Years working on the J Team: 9 Years
Favorite J Wine: J Vineyards Barrel 16 Pinot Noir

Juan’s inspiration is family, Juan says, “We have a great team in winemaking, everyone is always smiling, respectful, and in a good mood, probably because J is like a family, I feel at home as if my team members are my immediate family members, I always look forward to working with them.”

Juan is a very quick learner, which is why he has advanced so quickly in the past 9 years at J, Juan says, “I know all the machines in production so I am able to assist in the cellar working with the tanks, the bottling line, and utilize all lab equipment.  My team members know I am on the quiet side but they appreciate that my daily work accomplishments speaks louder than words.”

Juan became interested in the wine business as his parents worked in wineries and vineyards and they would share their stories with Juan each day, “My mom worked at J and would bring home J wines to share, I became intrigued as I never knew how wine was made.  Once she knew I had an interest in not only the process for making wine but J Winery in particular, she advised me of a new entry level position on the bottling line that I would be a great fit for, it was a great beginning position to learn the process of winemaking.” 

After a year, Juan’s skillful talents were noticed and they hired him as a full time permanent employee on the bottling line.  Shortly after, a new opportunity within the winery opened up in the lab.  Juan says, “I assisted in the lab sampling grapes after they were picked during harvest, since I picked up this skill quite quickly and efficiently they transitioned me into the lab full time and I have been there ever since.  I love the science of winemaking and learned the aspects of making quality wines.”

Juan is very active outside of work as well, “I have a home gym where I spend a good amount of time running on the treadmill as I train daily for my passion which is soccer.  I am on a premier soccer league in Santa Rosa playing the “forward position”, my treadmill workout keeps me in shape to run fast and be flexible.  Because I am small, lean, and fast, and able to make a lot of soccer goals, my soccer team members gave me the cool nickname “Pitufo”; in English it means “Smurf”.”

When Juan is not running on his treadmill at home or on the soccer field making goals, he has another driving passion.   Juan says, “I love my car, a 2011 Cadillac CTS, this car is “my baby”, I take great care and pride in my car as it is a reflection of my driven efforts for excellent quality.”

Juan’s favorite part of the day at J is the morning as that is when he analyzes sparkling bottles from the bottling, “I acquire 5 random dosed sparkling bottles and I test and taste each bottle in the lab to be sure the sugar levels and pressure in the bottle are of accurate quality.  This is a very important part of my job as we produce only the highest quality of sparkling wines and it is my job to be sure we uphold that assurance to our consumers.”

Juan feels very fortunate to bring his curiosity of understanding how wine is made to a reality in his job at J Vineyards & Winery, Juan says, “I now have the opportunity to be a more integral part of the winemaking team and assist in the blending process for our varietal and sparkling wines. I submit my own blends to the winemaking team, and we taste the blends so they can be integrated as a new vintage of J wine. I feel very proud that I am so appreciated by my team and they trust my ability to assist in creating a variety of J wine blends.”

Juan’s great teamwork and collaboration at J Vineyards & Winery is above all spectacular, in his every day work he takes an idea or dream created from curiosity and brings it to life. His passion for all of his creative ingenuity at J is appreciated by everyone, and the consumer achieves the best reward, 100% quality J wines. Thank you Juan, your curiosity continues to make J Vineyards & Winery a reality for everyone to enjoy.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Harvest is Coming, Harvest is Coming!

It Takes a Wine Village to make every bottle of inspired J, especially during harvest. We are so appreciative of our adoring J Fans that we want to share the hard-working J Harvest Team Members that bring your favorite bottles of J to your table for sharing with family and friends.

J Team Member: Martin
Position at J: Production Director (Cellar)
Years working on the J Team: 15 Years
Favorite J Wine: J Vintage Brut
Martin’s production team and the winemaking process at J Vineyards & Winery offer him an abundant of inspiration. “I love the whole aspect of the winemaking cycle from bringing in the grapes during harvest to crafting them into a quality J wine; I have a remarkable team that shares this same passion so every day at J is innovative and inspiring for me.”

Martin is a great communicator and mentor, his team holds very high regards for him, Martin says, “I am very meticulous, organized and conscientious, while also being respectful, thoughtful and approachable.  It is very important to me that my team can truly rely on me providing clear and creative direction so they have the opportunity to thrive in a positive and harmonious manner ever day at work.  It’s a win-win for all of us when my team and I work together to communicate and innovate an idea to life.” 

Martin has been in the wine business for 20 years, 15 years at J, Martin says, “I started my career in production and the cellar, which is where my passion for wine really developed.  It is very rewarding to have the ability to craft impressive wines for friends and family to enjoy their time together at the dinner table, a picnic outing, or a grand celebration.”

Martin feels he is very fortunate to work for such an inspirational winery such as J, “Being here at J Vineyards & Winery for 15 years I have come to realize that J is an authentic establishment that provides opportunity to grow within.  I feel fortunate to work for such a wonderful winery and I can see that more prosperous opportunities are available to me at J in my future.  I am really proud to be part of this family oriented winery.”

As much as Martin loves his job at J, he has an uncompromising devotion for his family, Martin says, “If I am not at work I am always with my wife and three children, they are all the light of my life.  I operate at home as I do at work with a conscientious, respectful, and thoughtful manner, especially when helping my children with their homework, swimming, soccer, and their Tai Kwon Do martial arts activities.”  Martin is quite involved in his community as he is a Board Member for a Santa Rosa soccer club, “I find it very important and beneficial to give back to my community by volunteering my time for my children and other parents’ children.  I want to teach my children the beneficial aspects of being involved in the community; it will enhance their life in a more positive and giving manner.”

Martin has favorite aspects of his job here at J, Martin says, “I take pleasure in being part of the J winemaking team as I contribute to the creative blending process of the wines and have a respected opinion on the final blend for a new vintage for our varietal or sparkling wines.”

When Martin is assisting in crafting new J vintages he not only thinks about his enjoyment from the blended wines, he also thinks about the consumers perceptions of the wines. Martin says, “My first and foremost thought when blending final blends is the consumer. I want to be sure that from the first sip to the last sip they are overwhelmed with the joy they get from the bouquet of the aromas, to the balance, complexity and elegance they receive from the flavors as I focus on quality.”

Part of Martin’s job is to source quality coopers (barrels) for our varietal wines and this past June he had an amazing opportunity to fly on a private plane to Missouri, compliments of the barrel makers, to visit the forest where they source their trees for making their quality barrels.  Martin says, “It was an amazing experience to visit the forest to source a tree and deliver it to their mill, saw the wood into barrel staves, which are the pieces of wood that form the barrel.  And for the finale, I had the enjoyment of toasting my own barrel.”

Martin runs his department at J Vineyards & Winery as though it were his own personal business; he is very diligent, meticulous, creative, charitable, organized, and quite fun loving.  Martin is a much-respected J team member, and he will always go out of his way to assist in any other department that requires attention.  We are so very proud and honored to have Martin in the J family; he is a true J sparkling gem!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Harvest is Coming, Harvest is Coming!

It Takes a Wine Village to make every bottle of inspired J, especially during harvest.  We are so appreciative of our adoring J Fans that we want to share the hard-working J Harvest Team Members that bring your favorite bottles of J to your table for sharing with family and friends.

J Team Member: Eric
Position at J: Production Worker
Years working on the J Team: 2 Years
Favorite J Wine: J Brut Rosé

Eric expressed that he loves the wine business, “J is my first wine job so I never knew how much work goes into making wine.  I find it amazing that it takes such a large crew of passionate people, from harvesting the grapes, carefully blending and fermenting the wine, and lastly bottling the distintive J wines.
Eric may sometimes be a bit quiet but his J team members like his style, Eric says, “I focus on getting my work done well every day, so I don’t  spend much time with chit chat, but that is okay as my team members appreciate that I always handle my work load very well with a smile.”
“J is one of the coolest places to work, I love it here”, says Eric.  Eric’s dad has been working at J for 15 years now, “It was because of my dad that started getting me interested in the wine business as he always talked about the various job responsibilities he had on a daily basis and they all sounded very cool, so I applied at J two years ago and I am loving every minute of it.” 
When Eric is not working at J, you will probably find him fishing, Eric says, “I was pretty much born with a fishing pole in my hand.  My dad and I share a great aspiration for fishing as we take many family trips to the Klamath River, which is one of our favorite places the fish.  My second favorite place to fish is the Russian River, which is located directly behind the winery.”  Eric also spends his free time gaming, “I love the Xbox, it is my favorite gaming source for playing games on-line, and I meet and compete with people around the world which is very cool.”
Eric says, “I love the flexibility of my job in the production department as we have the opportunity to rotate positions on the bottling line so I am able to learn all of the machines, which makes my day much more interesting.  I am very excited about our new screw capper for the J California Pinot Gris; it is an impressive machine to operate as it is highly efficient, a very hip machine.”
Eric is a valued J team member, he has the sweetest demeanor and always reliable.  So when you are opening your bottle of J wine, keep in mind that Eric had a significant role in the final touches to your special bottle of J wine.  Cheers!
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Harvest is Coming, Harvest is Coming!

It Takes a Wine Village to make every bottle of inspired J, especially during harvest.  We are so appreciative of our adoring J Fans that we want to share the hard-working J Harvest Team Members that bring your favorite bottles of J to your table for sharing with family and friends. 
J Team Member: Jose
Position at J: Production Maintenance Worker
Years working on the J Team: 9 Years
Favorite J Wine: J Vineyards Robert Thomas Pinot Noir

Jose’s inspiration comes from the J family and extends to his personal family.  Jose says, “the J family provides me great opportunities allowing me to share those wonderful opportunities with my family, I am blessed.”
Jose’s J team members really admire him as he is always very helpful beyond his job as a production maintenance worker, and he is a great guy to have on the team.  Jose says, “I may be very shy at times, but my team members know I have very high work ethics, and I love my job as a production maintenance worker and beyond whatever else needs to be taken care of year round for production and harvest.  I am always busy at my job and I am always learning something new each harvest, I think the winemaking process is very cool from the vineyards to the bottle and I am glad to be a part of it at J.”
Jose loves spending quality time with his wife and three children – “Me and my family love going to the river, it is a great outing for all of us to share a lot of fun and laughter together.”
Jose says, “a special memory I have from this year was when our Production Director and Production Manager organized and cooked a delicious BBQ for the entire production team after we successfully finished bottling the J California Pinot Gris, I felt much appreciated, again like a J family member.”
Jose is very significant to the J production team as he always goes out of his way to get the job done on a daily basis, and with a smile on his face.  Thanks Jose, J Vineyards & Winery is so fortunate to have you in the J family!
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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

J Vineyards & Winery Visits The London West Hollywood, California!

Sonoma Vintners Visit The London West Hollywood, California
By Nancy Jo Saper (L.A. Examiner), that includes J Winemaker Melissa Stackhouse in an interview & video.
J Winemaker Melissa Stackhouse

The Sonoma Vintners Association was having a wine tasting event at The London West Hollywood recently. A good wine showcases a story. While tasting at The London, I was fortunate to experience superb storytellers and wines that drew me in completely. I spoke with some of the organizers, wine makers, and marketers and am delighted to share their profound experience and passion with you.

Major Sonoma wineries such as the exceptional J Vineyards and Winery were represented at the event as well. Judy Jordan, daughter of Tom Jordan (the founder of great California wines and Jordan Winery), created her own successful brand with J Vineyards and Winery. They have a unique range of wines and exceptional sparklings.
This day they brought their Sparkling Rose, which is a masterpiece. The lushness of this sparkling lingers on the tongue and has balance and elegance combined. To know a good sparkling wine and or Champagne is its tiny bubbles. J Rose is a standout, it is engaging, lively with fresh fruit notes and a pleasurable finish that lingers.

J Pinot Noir is another winning wine under J winemaker Melissa Stackhouse. This bountiful wine has layers of texture with a rustic quality that is quite fun to drink. The intensity of fig, dark cherries, dark plum and cocoa emerge on your palette. J Pinot Noir can be sipped with a variety of culinary selections, a little chocolate compliments the wines rich character and it is perfect to drink on its own.

J Chardonnay makes your mouth water with sensual flavors of lemon-peel and shortbread. The creaminess and flavors are inviting. J also makes a J Pear Liqueur that will knock your socks off. The pure pear essence, vanilla aromas and butterscotch silkiness drape your palette eloquently. It has cognac tenacity with a feminine touch. Melissa is an exceptional artisan and shares insight into all things J!
NJ: Speak a little bit as a winemaker as to how it is when you are creating a wine.

MS: For me winemaking has always been incredibly collaborative, so it’s not just about one person, it’s about many people coming together to make a product. That means the vineyard crew, the winemaking team, sales and marketing and PR, bringing it all together. As far as winemaking goes I’m more hands-off. We really try to make sure the fruit is rock solid when we box the wine.

NJ: Let’s hear a little bit about the grapes that you’re growing and how particular you have to be to create the wines that you produce.

MS: I think if there’s any time to micromanage my day it’s in the vineyards and you also need to have a couple plans. When harvest unfolds you never really know what you’re going to get, so we usually go in with a plan A, and that’s if everything works out, and then a plan B, and a plan C if the weather turns extreme and so we try to just be present in the vineyard, be out there and micromanage it up front and we hopefully can bring solid fruit in.
J Nicole's Vineyard

NJ: Share a little bit about your wines. Especially about your Pinot Noir, about your sparkling Rose, which is wonderful, and your J Pear after dinner drink which is superb.

MS: The J Brut Rose sparkling wine is about 65% Pinot Noir and the balance is mostly Chardonnay a little bit of Meunier as well. We’ve just put it in a new package; it’s a sexy little package - clear glass with a swoopy J on the front. It’s a sexy wine, a brilliant, nice pink color. It’s a wine that’s really vivid in strawberry, grapefruit, very crisp, very light, and I think a perfect summer wine.

NJ: You have little bubbles, and that’s one thing when you’re looking for a good champagne or sparkling, you want little bubbles bubbling up to the top and that is what J does.

MS: Right, it’s got what we call formability. It’s got little bubbles and that’s a good thing and it’s not too fruity and really not too sweet either. And that’s the thing with wine; it can be fruit forward without being sweet. And the Pinot Noir is, for me mostly plum and cherry, a little bit of tobacco, just a kiss of rustic-ness. I love Pinot Noir and have been making it for many many years.

NJ: It’s very popular right now too and I think California Pinot Noir has more substance than when you think of a light Pinot Noir of days gone by.

MS: Yeah, especially in the Russian River Valley- that Pinot Noir is a little more brooding, it’s darker fruit - it’s more of a Cabernet wine drinker’s Pinot.
NJ: What else would you say regarding J Vineyards and the wines that you produce and being a woman owned vineyard and a woman winemaker? That also is an exceptional thing.

Judy Jordan, J Founder & President

MS: Well, Judy’s a cool lady. She has owned the winery for 25 years, which is amazing to me. She founded the brand when she was 25 years old and I think back to when I was 25 years old and I can’t imagine being mature enough to do that. She’s a neat lady and I feel very proud to make wine for her.

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