J.Lohr Vineyards & Wines
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J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines

We’re halfway through our five-week video series, The Perch! This week, the apprentice learns from the master.  What will you learn?

When they are not in front of the camera, Steve Peck and Brenden Wood are both talented winemakers. Head over to their bio pages to learn more about Steve and Brenden.

Last week we debuted the first video in our new Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir series, The Perch, and found out that Pinot Noir is the Answer!
 
This week, the series continues – innocent or guilty? You be judge!


Throughout The Perch video series, we’re excited to highlight the personalities of our red winemaking team as well as our passion for all things Pinot Noir with attributes, aromas, pairing tips, and more. Of course we’d be remiss to not acknowledge the additional talent behind The Perch ‘Guilty As Charged’ effort. Special thanks to actors Jas Sams and Dustin McLean, cookbook author Brigit Binns and Casey Biggs, Paso Wine Man, for their kitchen and living room backdrop, as well as the incomparable Dina Mande and the Juice Media team for their production magic!
 

We Love a Parade

When composer Harold Arlen wrote “I Love A Parade” in 1931, most parades were old-fashioned, family-style affairs, with local businesses coming together as a way of thanking their customers and building a greater sense of community. The annual July 4th Rose, White and Blue Parade that winds through San Jose’s lovely Rose Garden neighborhood is very much in this classic tradition. It’s filled with homemade floats, live bands, kids on bikes, antique cars and much more.

This year marks J. Lohr’s 40th anniversary of family winemaking. It also marks our 40th year in San Jose. It was 1974 when Jerry Lohr established his namesake winery on the property that used to be part of the old Falstaff Brewery at 1000 Lenzen Avenue, cementing J. Lohr’s imprint in the Rose Garden community. While we’ve been fans of the parade in the past, this year we decided we’d celebrate the 4th and our 40th by marching as a team along the parade’s 1.6-mile route.

After months of preparation, a group of about 40 of us gathered for breakfast at the J. Lohr San Jose Wine Center on the morning of July 4th. It was an exciting feeling as we put on the t-shirts we had specially made for the event. On the front, they were emblazoned with the American flag and the Rose, White and Blue logo, while on the back, they read “J. Lohr in your neighborhood 40 years.” We also handed out J. Lohr t-shirts, sunglasses, stickers, discount coupons and other small gifts for the marchers to share with the spectators.

Our float, which was actually a big grape harvester, was driven by Jerry Lohr himself, with members of our amazing vineyard crew walking alongside to ensure everyone’s safety. It was a fantastic feeling to watch Jerry drive that harvester right through the streets with our team laughing and smiling as they walked along with it. We even had our own version of kids being pulled in wagons, but instead of traditional wagons, we made ours out of wine barrels. We even had some cute grape costumes.

Our J. Lohr marchers and attendees included Steve Lohr, Cynthia Lohr, winemaker Jeff Meier, our Greenfield Vineyard Manager Agapito Vazquez and many others, including members of our vineyard, warehouse and winery teams, and even employees from down in Paso Robles. Many of our marchers also brought their families, which added to the fun. We were thrilled to be one of the 103 groups of marchers, and after the event we took a group portrait to commemorate the wonderful day. Looking at it, I’m reminded of how proud and patriotic we all felt, and what a pleasure it was to share our July 4th with our great community.

Reflections On Our 2014 J. Lohr Wine Cruise

Portugal, Spain and the Douro River Valley

Submitted By Laura Marble, wine club director

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As I write this, it’s been a couple of weeks since I returned from our 2014 J. Lohr Wine Cruise along Portugal’s majestic Douro River Valley. Coming back to the “real world” after a lengthy trip is always a transition; returning after spending 11 days exploring Portugal and Spain, eating fabulous food, drinking amazing wines, cruising a historic river, and making many, many new friends—well, let’s just say that there’s a little part of me that is still floating down the Douro. image

So much happened over those 11 days, and there were so many unforgettable experiences, that it would be impossible to share them all. But as with any great trip, there were certainly some highlights. For our 2014 cruise, we had a total of 68 people in our group, which included Jerry and Jolene Lohr, Lawrence and Emily Lohr, and Steve Lohr and his girlfriend, Faranak, as well as Lawrence and Steve’s Uncle Bill and Aunt Arlene Waldorf, and Arlene’s sister Marcie and her husband Don. We were also joined by our good friends and longtime distributors: Michael and Kimberly Glazer with Glazer’s Family of Companies in Texas; Jim and Carla Myerson with Wine Warehouse in California; and Bob and Nancy Rubin with Ruby Wines in Massachusetts. Wine club members and other friends came from all over, including Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, South Dakota and Washington.

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It was a fascinating group full of wonderful people. Mingling together and meeting one another at our first night’s reception in Lisbon was an early highlight. J. Lohr’s Portuguese distributor, José Luis Santos, hosted a tasting of his delicious Casa Santos Lima wines as a welcome for our group, which added greatly to the evening. It was the perfect warm-up for our three days of strolling the lovely cobblestone streets of Lisbon and exploring the local shops and restaurants.

Before setting sail on the Douro, we traveled to the stunning Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Hieronymites Monastery) and made an unforgettable daytrip to José Luis’s estate winery, where we were greeted by a 12-person traditional Portuguese band and dance troupe. When they asked members of our group to join them in a dance, Jolene, Steve and Lawrence, as well as some brave wine club members, were more than happy to oblige—and that was before we had a fantastic tasting with at least eight of José’s wines!

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 For our entire trip, the weather was perfect, which made for glorious days on the Douro River once we were aboard our ship: the beautifully appointed Queen Isabel. The Douro was stunning, with terraced vineyards and small historic quintas (farm buildings) dotting the picturesque riverbank. We also went through five locks, including one boasting the highest lift in Europe at 115 feet, which fascinated Jerry and Steve, both of whom were educated as civil engineers. When we weren’t away on day trips, shipboard life was wonderful, with excellent service, delicious meals shared with members of our group, and an array of J. Lohr wines—including many great library wines that we selected just for the cruise.

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One of the most memorable trips was to the family-owned winery Quinta da Avessada, where we had a delightful wine tasting and a fantastic traditional country dinner. The evening was hosted by the owner, Luis Barros, who was a charming and funny storyteller. To add to the ambiance, there was live music—apparently many of the employees at the winery play instruments!

Since visiting Spain was on my bucket list, our trip to Salamanca was a memorable one for me. The sidewalk cafes with their yummy paella, tapas and beer were so much fun, even if we were all a bit surprised at 2 p.m. when everything shut down for siesta. How’s that for authentic?

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There are so many other things I could talk about: the beautiful brightly-colored tile on so many of the buildings, the flamenco dancing in Spain, and listening to Faranak, a talented pianist, play for our group. And of course the wines were glorious, both the J. Lohr selections we brought and the local ones we discovered. I also saw something else I have never seen in all my time at J. Lohr—Jerry kicking back and relaxing with a book on the upper deck!

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 While I knew many of the people on the trip from various J. Lohr events, I can honestly say that I made some incredible friends on the cruise who I will stay in contact with for years to come. I think everyone had this same experience. We shared so many wonderful times together, and there was such a sense of fun and camaraderie in everything we did. I send my thanks to all of you who were there for making our 2014 cruise so unforgettable. And to those of you who could not make it—I hope to see you next time!

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Our Bountiful Relationship with UC Davis

Submitted by Jeff Meier, Director of Winemaking, President and COO

As a winery that has always been dedicated to education and research, it’s perhaps not surprising that J. Lohr has a long, rich history with UC Davis, one of the world’s preeminent schools for viticulture and enology. I’m a proud alumnus of UC Davis, as are Red Winemaker Steve Peck, White Winemaker Karl Antink, as well as several other members of our J. Lohr team. In addition, in 2013, Jerry Lohr was honored with the UC Davis Cal Aggie Alumni Association award for his extensive support of the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology, including Jerry’s leadership in establishing the university’s LEED Platinum-certified teaching and research winery, which includes the “J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines Fermentation Hall,” and the “J. Lohr Wine Sensory Lab.”

On May 7th, I had the great pleasure of representing J. Lohr at the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology “Fermentor Unveiling.” The unveiling was held in the winery’s J. Lohr Fermentation Hall and was presided over by Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean Helene Dillard, who offered some wonderful opening remarks before Viticulture and Enology Department Chair Dr. David Block led the presentation and visionary professor Roger Boulton, the fermentor unveiling.

In attendance were principals of almost all the donating wineries, each of which had donated a fermentor at a cost of approximately $88,000. It was a fantastic group that included a who’s who of industry icons like Warren Winiarski, Jack Cakebread, Paul Hobbs, Dave Ramey, Janet Trefethen and Peter Mondavi, Jr. The widow of legendary winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff was also there, as were Jeffrey Stambor, winemaker for Diageo (which includes Beaulieu Vineyards, where Andre consulted for many years), and Rob Davis, the winemaker for Jordan. All in all, including faculty members and individuals on the Executive Leadership Board, there were about 50 people there, and as each fermentor was unveiled, the donating winery representative spoke briefly about their great experiences with UC Davis. 

Jeff Meier and his wife Kathi accept the honor

I shared a few words about how much Jerry enjoys helping out and giving back to not only his alma mater, South Dakota State, but also other universities that are contributing to the success of our industry, particularly UC Davis, with its fantastic teaching and research programs. On a personal note, I also thanked the university for providing me the tools to become what I am today.

The event lasted for about two hours, and was followed by a lovely dinner in the Robert Mondavi Institute Sensory Wing, with each of the members contributing some of their wines for the meal, including a spectacular 1970 Beaulieu Vineyards, George de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon!

Let’s Celebrate!

Our J. Lohr 40th Anniversary Wines are now available for purchase

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2014 is a special year for us, as it marks our winery’s 40th anniversary. Four decades ago, when we planted our first vines on the Central Coast, few wine enthusiasts knew much about Monterey County winegrowing, let alone specific regions like Arroyo Seco and the Santa Lucia Highlands. The same was true of Paso Robles when we first began planting there in 1988. Therefore, for us, the story of J. Lohr is part of a bigger one. We have always believed that a rising tide lifts all boats, and have embraced a role as ambassadors for both regions, sharing our wines and spreading the word about Monterey and Paso Robles winegrowing around the globe. Today, both areas are recognized as world-renowned wine regions.
 
It is therefore with great love for these regions that today we announce the availability of two 40th anniversary keepsake wines.  These wines include the 40th Anniversary Pinot Blanc from the Arroyo Seco and the 40th Anniversary Red Wine from Paso Robles.   
 
As a special thank you to the first 40 people to purchase one or both of our J. Lohr 40th Anniversary wines,  the bottles that they receive will be signed by our winemakers. There is a limit of two bottles of 40th Anniversary Pinot Blanc and four bottles of 40th Anniversary Red Wine per fan of these limited-edition, commemorative wines!
 
Cheers!  The next 40 years promise to be just as amazing!

We are pleased to announce two amazing J. Lohr award winners from the 2014 Jerry Mead’s New World International Wine Competition. The 2013 J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdiguié won Platinum as well as Best Other Varietal Red and the 2011 J. Lohr Tower Road Petite Sirah also garnered a Platinum award.

This long-running competition was established in 1989 and is open to wines produced anywhere in the “New World”, including all of North America, Central America, and South America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. This is the only competition in America, and perhaps the world, to pit the best wines from each price class against each other to determine an overall best of variety or type.  In addition, all wines are judged “double-blind”. The judges do not know the identity of the wines they are tasting, nor do they have a list of entered wines, which might enable them to guess the wines’ identities.

These prestigious awards underscores J. Lohr’s tenet to produce varietally-driven wines that represent the best expression of their chosen appellations. In our wine descriptions below, we detail some of the characteristics that contribute to the delicious flavors in these wines. Our hope is that you will enjoy these two special wines and share with friends and family!

About the 2013 J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdiguié: Our Valdiguié is grown on Chualar loam soil in the Arroyo Seco appellation of Monterey County. Originally thought to be the Gamay Noir grape of France’s Beaujolais winegrowing region, U.C. Davis has since identified this grape to be Valdiguié from an area in the southwest of France. Regardless of its origin and identity, our 100% Valdiguié is grown in the windy, cold Arroyo Seco and produces a wine reminiscent of the “Crus” of Beaujolais - Morgon, Fleurie and Moulin-à-Vent. Red Winemaker Steve Peck notes that the wine is perfect with a duck confit salad or as a complement to a charcuterie plate of Serrano ham, peppered salami, cornichon and hard cheese.  Learn more

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About the 2011 J. Lohr Tower Road Petite Sirah: In the vineyards surrounding Tower Road, in the Estrella and San Miguel districts of Paso Robles, our Petite Sirah thrives on the well-drained yet heavier clay soils of the area. The wine is comprised of 97% Petite Sirah, 2% Syrah and 1% Zinfandel.  Steve Peck recommends pairing it with aromatic herbs and pan-seared meat dishes such as rosemary lamb chops with roasted fennel. Quantities are limited, with only 6,500 six-packs of this gem available.  Learn more.

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Celebrating Cabernet in Paso Robles

The Paso Robles CAB (Cabernet and Bordeaux) Collective (PRCC) exceeded all expectations for its second annual event, CABs of Distinction.  The five-days of festivities, which occurred from April 22-26, was a testament to the high quality of Cabernet and Bordeaux varietals that have continued to emerge from Paso Robles. 

Here’s a few of our behind the scenes photos and insights from various events that we participated in that attracted national media and wine trade professionals, as well as general enthusiasts: 

In collaboration with The SOMM Journal, the PRCC developed a three-day, comprehensive, educationally- focused tour. The 20 select sommeliers and key wine buyers from southern California participated in hands-on, instructional experiences.  Our guests were certainly professionals.  We were inspired by their enthusiasm at 8am on a Wednesday morning when they arrived at our vineyards and were eager to learn more about J. Lohr.  They visited the Hilltop Vineyard and then experienced a component tasting of our J. Lohr Cuvée wines. 

Steve Lohr (left) and Jeff Meier (center) greet the sommeliers atop our Hilltop Vineyard.

Jeff Meier, president/COO and director of winemaking, hosting the component tasting of our J. Lohr Cuvée wines for the SOMM Journal tour.

The En Primeur barrel tastings from the as-yet-unreleased 2013 vintage was another highlight.  Media and trade guests received a sneak peak at select 2013 J. Lohr wines and  the feedback was very positive.  

Assistant Red Winemaker Brenden Wood hosting the table at the En Primeur tasting.

 “As a winemaker, there is always an anticipation in showcasing a vintage that has not yet been released,” commented Assistant Red Winemaker Brenden Wood.  “Pouring our 2013 J. Lohr Cuvée POM and 2013 J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon for a barrel tasting in our own Paso Robles backyard was thrilling for me.  It gave me a first hand impression that our 2013 vintage is definitely on the right track for success.”  

The Saturday, April 26th CABs of Distinction Gala began with a luxury VIP multi-course gourmet lunch paired with rare library wines.  Steve Lohr presented the guests with a rare tasting of the 2007 J. Lohr Cuvée St. E. 

Steve Lohr presenting the 2007 Cuvée St. E

Later that afternoon, the lakeside tasting at River Oaks Hot Springs in Paso Robles showcased 32 wineries from Paso Robles.  Steve, Lawrence and Cynthia Lohr were all on hand to meet with guests, discuss J. Lohr’s rich history of Cabernet Sauvignon in Paso Robles and of course, taste amazing J. Lohr wines. 

Cynthia Lohr (right) with Deanna Russo Clark from California Life HD and Daniel Daou of Daou Vineyards.

Steve Lohr and Lawrence Lohr at the J. Lohr table for the CABs of Distinction

“The magic of Paso Robles was in full view over the five days,” said J. Lohr VP Marketing Cynthia Lohr. “From mid-week heat and sunshine to Friday’s rain event leading into a crystalline but very windy Saturday, the weather spectrum helped reinforce the unique conditions that contribute to the remarkable flavors in our Paso Robles Bordeaux varieties.”

How can the CAB Collective possibly top the 2014 event?  Details for the 2015 CABs of Distinction media, trade and consumer events will be announced on National Cabernet Day, August 29th.  Stay tuned. 

Oh Canada – The California Wine Fair Tours Canada

Submitted by Guest Blogger, VP of International Sales Shaune Zeleny

As VP of International Sales, I have the pleasure of acting as an ambassador for J. Lohr in more than 30 countries around the globe, including Japan, Denmark, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and a host of other fantastic places. It’s a remarkable amount of fun. I get to travel, see new places, meet wonderful new people, and share our amazing wines with them. Not surprisingly, one of our longest and most important relationships is with our neighbor to the north, the spectacular country of Canada.

As I write this, I am mid-way through the annual California Wine Fair. The California Wine Fair is a yearly tasting of top California wines held at major cities throughout Canada. So far, we’ve made stops in Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, and in the weeks ahead we’ll be visiting Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton in western Canada, before heading to the East Coast to visit with wine lovers in Moncton and Halifax.

Shaune, center, at the Toronto tasting along with a couple of friends from our Ontario agency, Profile Wine Group

The crowds at the events so far have been charming, enthusiastic and eager to explore the wines of California. We’ve been pouring a selection of six wines at each stop, including our J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon, Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon, Los Osos Merlot and Riverstone Chardonnay, with our final two selections varying depending on the city.

Historically, we’ve had great success in Canada, and in fact, our J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet and J. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay are currently both the number one selling wines in their category in all of Ontario. Beyond the quality of our wines, I believe our success has been because of the amazing relationships we’ve formed, both with our Canadian distributors and with long-standing accounts.

On a personal note, I love visiting Canada. There’s always something new to see. This year, when I was at the Toronto stop on the Wine Fair, I took a trip to the Royal Ontario Museum, or the ROM as the locals call it. I also saw the Blue Jays play the Yankees at the Rogers Center (formerly the Sky Dome). Each Canadian city offers something different. Quebec City is steeped in history. Old Montreal is charming and beautiful. Toronto is vibrant and worldly—like New York or London. And everywhere you go, the people are courteous and friendly.

While I still have a number of flights ahead of me (both planes and wines), I’m really looking forward to the rest of the trip. Canada’s prairie cities are booming, Vancouver is a breathtaking town that I always enjoy, and I’ve never been to Halifax, which I hear is stunning. If you’re reading this blog in one of these cities, I hope you’ll come to the Wine Fair and visit me at the J. Lohr table.

Pebble Beach Food & Wine

Pebble Beach. The location evokes images of the famous lone cypress tree, spectacular golf and the scenic 17-Mile Drive. Last weekend, Pebble Beach also meant wine. 

J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines once again participated in what has become one of the premiere wine events in the United States. The Seventh Annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival occurred April 10th – 13th.  In addition to pouring at the Grand Tasting on both Saturday and Sunday, our President and COO Jeff Meier also hosted a cooking demonstration with Chef Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene in Atlanta, Georgia. 

The J. Lohr wines that were featured included the 2012 J. Lohr Arroyo Vista Chardonnay and the 2011 J. Lohr Highlands Bench Pinot Noir. Chef Linton’s bites that he selected were inspired by his commitment to fresh and local ingredients.  One of our favorite samples was the jumbo lump crab cakes with remoulade and citrus fruit with a delectable side of Chef Linton’s own mayonnaise.  Tasty!

Here are a few of our favorite “behind the scenes” photos from the cooking demonstration. 

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From left: Lawrence Lohr, Chef Linton Hopkins, Jeff Meier, and Steve Lohr.

Hope to see you at Pebble Beach Wine & Food Festival next year, April 9-12, 2015!

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Learn about what's going on at J. Lohr, and explore the world of wine along with the J. Lohr extended family.

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