Monday, April 26, 2010

Joanna Jones Wine Wins Best of Red Contest at La Casa Vieja Event

by Joanna Jones

I’ve had the dream of living in the wine country and making wine since I was quite young. I was born and raised in the San Francisco area and would frequently take trips to the Napa Valley which was still in its infancy when I started going there. We would stay in a quaint Bed and Breakfast in the heart of the wine region and go to the picturesque vineyards to tour and taste their wines. Valle de Guadalupe, the wine country of Baja, Mexico reminds me so much of those days.

Last summer I took the wine making workshop offered at La Escuelita in El Porvenir, and started fulfilling my dream. The future of my wine would not have been possible without the expert guidance of Thomas Egli who patiently worked and guided me through the entire process and also to Alberto, who took over for Thomas along the way. I believe one of the secrets of this wine is that it contains a small percentage of Nebbiolo. That’s where the magic has come from.

My intention was to make Nebbiolo with grapes from a local ranch. Two days before harvest the birds DEVOURED the crop! They kindly left me two small boxes, and I insisted on using them. I had two options of what type of grape to purchase to blend with my miniscule amount of Nebbiolo. I chose the Zinfandel grape over the Petite Syrah. It seemed to me the flavors would blend the best. It’s was a long process getting the grapes to ferment. The fermentation would stop and we would need to jump start them. It took a long time to reach the barrel. I was the first student from the class to start making wine, and I think the last, or close to it, to put it in the barrel. Thomas would say, “One must be patient with Zinfandel”.

I was invited to the Spring Wine and Art festival at La Casa Vieja last Sunday, April 18, 2010. Thom Toscano organized the presentation of 16 wines from the artisan winemakers, giving wine lovers the opportunity to be the judge in a blind tasting.
Imagine my amazement when I received First Place!

It was one of the most, or maybe even the most, exciting day of my life. Never in my wildest dreams did I consider the possibility of being in the running with my wine. I was doing it for the fun of it. Before the event I was planning to leave the wine in the barrel for a couple more months. Now I am reconsidering!

I can’t wait to make more!!!

Joanna Jones can be reached via email at:
Also visit her real estate sales web site at:

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