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Juslyn Vineyards - Napa Valley


93-Points - Wine Enthusiast magazine

When Englishman Perry Butler immigrated to California more than twenty years ago he arrived as an accomplished chef who had learned his trade in the well-respected Truste House Forte chain of hotels in Europe. He fully expected to ply his chosen trade in this country until he and his wife Carolyn devised a computer niche company that had instant appeal to the airlines industry.

The Butlers started their computer services company in 1982 that provided travel links for many of the world’s top carriers and the couple eventually located their workplace in the East Bay community of Walnut Creek.

But Perry Butler never forgot his early culinary training and the atmosphere that first peaked his interest in wines.

“In the old days I used to trade my fellow employees steaks for good bottles of wine,” he fondly recalled. “It was all good fun and my favorites were the great red Bordeaux chateaux.”

The Butlers’ computer company prospered and its proximity to nearby Napa Valley proved to be a compelling force to the talented couple.

At first, the pair began to visit Napa every six weeks or so and soon found them cutting the time between visits to three and then every two weeks. The love affair with Napa eventually compelled Perry and Carolyn to purchase a weekend home in 1997 that came complete with an acre of grapes planted in Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. By that time the Butlers spent each weekend in Napa and within months they found themselves spending more time in Napa than their home in the East Bay.

“By then we were convinced that our future lay in viniculture,” added Butler, “so we sold our home and business and bought a wonderful 50-acre plot on Spring Mountain that we both loved. It was the inspiration for our new winery.”

Butler admits that he had experimented with custom crushing some valley grapes as early as 1998 with the help of his friend, Napa Valley land and vineyard guru Andy Beckstoffer. Juslyn (a combination of daughter Justine and Carolyn) Vineyards also planted their first grapes in 1998 and the same year announced their first release of approximately 700 cases.

Butler and Juslyn have relied heavily on Beckstoffer’s advice and today can lay claim to the fact that every drop of its production is tied in to one or more of Beckstoffer’s vineyards. Juslyn’s production has risen in recent years to around 2,800 cases and Perry Butler feels the winery has nearly reached its optimum capacity of 3,000 cases.

Why 3,000?

“That’s the figure everyone I talked to says is the tolerable level”, he explained. “At Juslyn, we insist that each vineyard we use possesses some specific historical background. So far, we have been fortunate to secure some incredible fruit that has led to some terrific wines. We have always said that Juslyn strives to allow our vineyard selection to express itself through our wines. We always try and remain true to that premise.”

In the meantime, Carolyn Butler opened up a high-end ladies shoe store that quickly grew to become one of the largest independent shoe stores in Napa Valley.

Perry Butler sees a similarity between the shoe store and Juslyn.

“Whenever Carolyn goes traveling, either buying or promoting her store, “ he added, “I tag along and promote the winery. For some reason it always seems to work quite nicely.”

The Butlers also can claim another inimitability, that being the couple are also officially Lord and Lady Butler in Great Britain. It seems that research turned up the fact that Perry Butler is descended from a royal line some 250 years old and thereby entitled to be called Lord and Lady of the Manor of Maidencourt, a village some 55 miles west of London.

While the Butlers downplay their role as royalty, they cannot escape the fact that their Spring Mountain Juslyn Vineyards has already begun to assume its place as one of Napa Valley’s elite wineries.

When you add to the mix the fact that their estate wines will soon become available, it is easy to predict a truly rosy future for Juslyn.

When daughter Justine, 20, graduates from Cal Poly in about two years and joins the company, Perry Butler feels he and Carolyn will have it all.

From the looks of it, they already have a pretty fair start.



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