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Monday, August 4, 2014

One of the Earliest Harvests Ever for J Vineyards

Posted By on Mon, Aug 4, 2014 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge The team at J starts to harvest Pinot Meunier - J VINEYARDS
  • J Vineyards
  • The team at J starts to harvest Pinot Meunier

Wine buffs will likely have noticed that the harvest season is already upon us. J Vineyards and Winery in Healdsburg is no exception and celebrated the start of its 28th harvest this week – one of the earliest harvests in the winery’s history. If you’re not familiar with J, it’s a favorite spot on the Sonoma County wine tasting trail, known for its methode champenoise sparkling whites and rosés,Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinor Noir varietals.

“Our harvest is trending 12 days earlier than last year,” says J’s winemaker, Melissa Stackhouse. “The cold winter, late rains and recent hot weather have escalated the fruit ripening. When we harvest during summertime, we have to work more quickly because we don’t have the benefit of the cooler nights later in the year. We always start with Pinot Meunier, the grapes used for our sparkling wines,” she says.

The J team brought in the first five tons of Pinot Meunier, harvested from the Russian River, at 10 p.m. on July 30. J Vineyards owns ten vineyards locally and sources the rest of its fruit through the Russian River, Monterey and Lodi. The Pinot Gris harvest is expected to start this weekend.

Winemaker Stackhouse joined the winery, which was founded by Judy Jordan in 1986, in May 2011 after a decade at La Crema. “The number one benefit of working at a family-owned winery like J is the commitment to quality,” says Stackhouse.  “Judy tastes every blend before we bottle it – she’s part of the process – if a wine veers outside of her expectation, we can dialogue and discuss it. That gives me and the team a lot of creative freedom."

Over the past three years Stackhouse has been fine-tuning the style of the J Cuvée 20, an affordable sparkling white at $28 per bottle, pulling back on residual sugar. She’s also been amplifying the quality of Pinot Noirs being produced.

If you haven’t had a chance to sample J wines, put the winery on your list of places to visit in the North Bay. Just a few miles from downtown Healdsburg, the tasting room is set in an idyllic Monetesque location, complete with a bridge over a pond full of lilypads. The winery holds a number of events including an upcoming session: “Sparkling Wine Exposed” which explains how “dosage” works and reveals the art and science involved in making “bubbles.”

Look for the release of J’s new Brut Rosé vintage in August.

click to enlarge J’s Brut Rosé - J VINEYARDS
  • J Vineyards
  • J’s Brut Rosé

J Vineyards and Winery is at 11447 Old Redwood Hwy, Healdsburg, CA

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Alice Dishes


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