J.Lohr Vineyards & Wines
Wine Lohr

J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines

Harvest 2014 Begins!

Submitted by Karl Antink, white winemaker

image

On Monday, August 11th, as the sun rose over Napa Valley, we officially began our 2014 harvest with the handpicking of 2.7 acres of Sauvignon Blanc at our beloved Carol’s Vineyard in St. Helena. Our Sauvignon Blanc from Carol’s Vineyard is always the first fruit we harvest each year. We will actually do three different picks of Sauvignon Blanc at Carol’s, spaced out over about 11 or 12 days. We harvest at three different stages of ripeness to create a complex, layered Sauvignon Blanc with an array of flavors that range from zesty citrus to more tropical. The 2.7 acres we just picked represent only about a quarter of the vineyard’s 10.9 total acres of Sauvignon Blanc.

Harvesting Carol’s Vineyard is a bit like a warm-up for the bigger harvest ahead. It will be about another four to six weeks until the 2014 white wine harvest really gets underway, with the picking of Rhône white grapes in Paso Robles, and some early Chardonnay from Greenfield. Once the Chardonnay starts coming in things won’t really slow down until we finish up with the picking of our Riesling near the last week of October.

image

After watching the growing season carefully, and assessing the development of all our different white varieties, I’m excited about our 2014 harvest. It’s going to be a really good vintage. In many ways it’s similar to last year, with good weather during flowering and bloom, and enough warmth to achieve excellent ripeness. The vineyards have set a good crop, and the quality of the fruit on the vines looks phenomenal. Adding to our optimism, there are no major weather systems on the horizon, and there is no current threat of rain.

image

I like harvest, because it keeps me running, and I work best in that environment. This year, there are a few things I’m particularly looking forward to. It’s the third year of our Rhône white program, and the third vintage of our J. Lohr Estates Flume Crossing Sauvignon Blanc. We constantly refine our winemaking techniques, especially in the first few years, and I believe this will be a standout vintage for these wines as we further dial in our approach. After the success of our J. Lohr 40th Anniversary Pinot Blanc, I’m also looking forward to working with Pinot Blanc again. While the next few months will be filled with long, hard days, they will also be filled with energy, excitement, camaraderie and cool new projects, and at the end of it all, we’ll have another great vintage of wines to remember the year by.

Here’s to harvest 2014!

image

Every great production has to have some bloopers and out-takes that don’t make the final cut.  While Steve Peck, Brenden Wood and the rest of the cast certainly had a knack for acting in The Perch, perfection did not come on the first take of every shoot.

In our final video in the series we invite you to go behind-the-scenes.  Be prepared for a good laugh as you take a look at a few of our unedited clips. 

Thank you for following the series over the past six weeks.

Cheers!

Many of you may have wondered if there really is a falcon guiding our J. Lohr Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir.  If so, does he watch over the vineyards and take meticulous care in tending to the vines that produce this coveted wine?   We solve the mystery in the fifth and final video of The Perch.

We hope that you have enjoyed the series.  It has been wonderful to share our passion for our growing Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir program in a light-hearted way that also shows the witty and talented personalities behind our winery.  A special thank you goes out to Steve Peck, Brenden Wood and all of the J. Lohr cast members who participated in the filming.   Hollywood might be calling!

Who hasn’t had those humbling moments where we’ve forgotten something or things didn’t quite turn out as well as expected?  In the fourth video of our Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir series Red Winemaker Steve Peck is enthusiastically discussing the merits of Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir while Assistant Red Winemaker Brenden Wood reflects on some recent mishaps where Pinot Noir has come to his rescue.  
 
Don’t worry.  We’ve all been there, Brenden!

It’s All in the Details

Last July, we blogged about our Employee Garden, a special place we created just across the driveway from our J. Lohr Paso Robles Wine Center. The garden has become a serene little hideaway and social nexus for our Paso employees, and a place for them to grow some delicious fruits and vegetables. But what the garden has been missing is a big, welcoming table to go beneath the lovely wood pergola.

Recently, when J. Lohr acquired a property in Greenfield with an older building on the site, Director of Winemaking Jeff Meier noticed that there was some great old timber in the structure. A hobbyist woodworker, Jeff had the inspired idea that we could reclaim the wood and use it to create a table to go beneath the Employee Garden pergola. Jeff reached out to our good friend, Paul Kirchner, who has been our official J. Lohr photographer since 2006. Paul is a sensitive and perceptive photographer, who has the gift of capturing images that tell a story and transport the viewer. He is also a furniture maker, with an artisan’s sense of detail and design.

Paul picking up the reclaimed lumber in Greenfield

Jeff and Steve Lohr gave Paul some basic specifications, and after visiting Paul’s studio to sign off on his initial drawings, Paul got to work. Though Paul had originally intended to use metal to hold the joints, after he picked up the lumber, his design for the table evolved and he decided to make the table using traditional joints. As Paul describes the table, it is “an outdoor piece of furniture, with indoor furniture joints.” Paul calls it a “glorified picnic table,” but you can see the craftsmanship in the beautiful angles, and in every detail of the mortise and tenon joint work. Paul finished the table with a rough sanding and added oil to even out the tones of the wood so that it works with the existing pergola.

At 16’ feet in length, the table weighs about 500 pounds, with the top alone weighing roughly 300 pounds. In fact, as heavy as it was, Paul didn’t put the top on the table until it was placed in its final home under the pergola, and when he did, it took four people to lift it. All told, Paul spent about a month and a half building the table. It’s not every business that would invest that much time and energy into the creation of an outdoor table that’s primarily for employees. In a way, Paul’s table touches on a number of ideas that guide our winery: that we should preserve, reuse and reclaim wherever we can; that craft matters—if you are going to do something, do it as well as you can; that quality is the sum total of many small decisions and tiny, yet important details; and, finally, that happy employees who know they are valued, grow and make better wine.

“Paul’s lens on the world is undeniably driven by the highest level of craftsmanship,” says VP Marketing Cynthia Lohr. “He has this ability to transform raw physical ingredients, as well as his product and landscape photography, into timeless, commemorative pieces that always take your breath away. He’s also an inspired writer and humble, authentic soul. He’s become a beloved resource and friend to many of us on the J. Lohr team for his inimitable style, and we are all the more fortunate for his talents.”

The table is already a hit with our team, who love to eat lunch at it, or take breaks from their gardening as they rest in the shade of the pergola.

Thanks for the amazing table, Paul!

See additional photos and read more about the table from the maker himself on Paul’s blog

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

image

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.

 image

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!

image

 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.

image

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?

 image

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!

image

 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!

image

image

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!

About this Blog

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

Elsewhere on the Web

Search this Blog