Napa Valley AVA
The vineyard property bears the Calistoga AVA
Joseph Cellars is named for its owner, Joe Bartholomew, a man with a mission.
Bartholomew’s wine odyssey began in the late 1970’s when he and his wife Nicole first visited Napa Valley and its surroundings. “We knew from the very beginning that if the stars aligned correctly for us, we would one day be part of the most beautiful place we had ever seen,” Bartholomew recalled recently. We made Napa Valley our destination vacation site from that point on and started planning our dream in life.”
Bartholomew, now 56, was a native Floridian, from Clearwater to be exact. His former business was providing consumer data that helped startup internet companies develop credit functions. A great deal of that development was centered around Silicon Valley in Northern California.
In 1989, property in the Calistoga area beckoned to the Bartholomews. The 28-acre site came with a problematic factor that involved long term vineyard leases.
“It was then that I met Laurie Woods,” Bartholomew explained. “He was an older gentleman who had been one of the original partners at Freemark Abbey. And, he was also quite stubborn. We couldn’t make a deal on the property but I continued seeing him for a couple of years. Finally, he relented and called me. We made our deal and he introduced me to practically everyone who was anyone in Napa Valley. I am honored to say he was my mentor.”
The first Bartholomew Family Vineyards were planted in 1989. “Initially, we were more interested in selling our fruit,” Bartholomew added. “Everything we did was done by hand. It was our intention to have the finest possible vineyards on our land. By the way, all the vineyard property bears the Calistoga AVA.”
Almost two decades later, a decision was made to enter the winery side of the business. “We wanted to be able to bring our product directly to consumers. We knew the grapes we were producing were first class and saw what other wineries were doing with them. It just seemed like the correct thing to do at the time.”
A miniscule 175 cases of Joseph Cellars Estate Cabernet Sauvignon was rolled out of the 2008 vintage.
Initial responses (both consumer and industry) were highly favorable and the new winery was on its way. Many accolades and top awards have graced Joseph Cellars’ wines and today it is a well-respected producer of top quality varietals.
Joseph Cellars’ Estate Cabernet sauvignon continues as the flagship wine for the small winery. “Of the 2,200 cases we produce annually, around 1000 are our estate cabernet sauvignon. We buy a little merlot, but it is mostly home grown. Our winemaker, Swedish-born Kristof Nils Anderson, takes all of our barrels and marks them with a three star system. Only the ones that are three stars are used for the estate cabernet sauvignon. The remainder we sell off as bulk wine.”
Joe Bartholomew is firmly convinced the care that is given to both his grapes and wines are the keys to Joseph Cellars’ success. “From vineyard to cellar to bottle, the attention and care we provide is as much as we possibly can make it,” he explained further. “It’ s my sincere desire to be able to produce a $75 bottle of wine that is on par with a much more expensive one. I’m a consumer myself, and realize what quality bargain means to everyone who is putting out the money for the wine. We take no shortcuts and we are quite picky about how everything is done around our winery.”
Bartholomew also has his sights set on a point noir in the future. He intends for Winemaker Anderson to locate a vineyard during the next few years that would meet his expectations. “I would be willing to pay the price for the right location,” he smiled. “But we would all have to agree on everything.”
Almost all of the Bartholomew Family has a hand in the winery operation of Joseph Cellars. Wife Nicole is the winery’s ambassador, both on the phone and in person. Sons Gage, 6, and Jaxon,4, are already active during the winery’s crush season. They operate the squeegees and water hoses and have a royal time doing so.
Joe Bartholomew is already living his dream through his fine winery. He continues to strive for excellence in the bottle, a facet he says, will never change. His vines are now 18 – 20 years old and in their prime production.
We know you will enjoy this Platinum Selection from Joseph Cellars. Cheers!
Joe, Nicole and Family, owners
Dear Platinum Series Wine Club Members,
As a family-owned winery and vineyards, our handcrafted wines, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Late Harvest Zinfandel, are grown on The Bartholomew Family Vineyards’ 27-acre property and are hand farmed using sustainable farming practices. Our property encompasses two AVAs, the newly formed Calistoga Appellation and long-standing Diamond Mountain Appellation.
The Bartholomew Family Vineyard was planted in 1991 and our farming practices are simple: we prune and harvest by hand only, applying organic products.
The experience begins as you drive through the vineyard where you’re surrounded by lush vines, and then up to the terraced parking lot where your eyes stare at the stunning views of Mount St. Helena and the Palisades.
Joseph Cellars Winery and wine caves are located along Hwy 29 in the Calistoga AVA, against the western hillside of the Napa Valley’s Mayacamas Mountain Range.
Upon entering the courtyard between winery and cave you have a choice, the caves where you'll experience the cool drop in temperature while your nose is greeted with aromas of oak and wine; or walk by the fermentation area while making your way to the tasting room where your views continue, all the while enjoying good conversation and Joseph Cellars wines. We believe that great wines begin in the vineyard, together with the help of Mother Nature. Our mission is to craft limited release, quality wines.
Joseph Cellars Winery proudly presents the 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a tribute to the past, the present, and the future generations of the Bartholomew Family Vineyards of Calistoga.
It is our pleasure to provide this wine for your enjoyment!
Joe, Nicole and Family