Joseph Jewell Wines
Dry Creek Valley AVA
Joseph Jewell is one of the few wineries with access to Grist Vineyard and they strive to craft Zinfandels with brilliant expressions of the special site.
This month’s Platinum Plus! feature comes from Joseph Jewell, a duo of young, garagiste-style winemakers specializing in single-vineyard wines from Sonoma and Humboldt Counties. Founded by Micah Wirth and Adrian Manspeaker in 2006, Joseph Jewell Wines may have started in a small garage in Windsor, California, but today the ultra-boutique winery has an award-winning reputation and stands as one of the crown jewels (no pun intended) of Sonoma wine country.
Micah Wirth is the fourth generation in a family of wine producers. His father was the winemaker at Sonoma’s Preston Vineyards, and starting at the age of 8, Micah would accompany him to work where he anxiously learned the basics of winemaking. Once he was old enough, Micah enrolled in enology classes at the heralded UC Davis campus, which only fueled his passion. After graduating and working a number of grueling 15-hour days at harvest internships, he landed a winemaking position at Gary Farrell Winery. Over the next seven years, Micah worked his way up to Cellar Master and gained the ambition he needed to start his own label.
In 2006, Micah teamed up with friend Adrian Manspeaker and founded Joseph Jewell. Adrian worked in construction with a business background, but he was always fascinated by winemaking and jumped at the chance to join the industry. The winery name, Joseph Jewell, is a combination of the duo’s middle names (Micah Joseph Wirth and Adrian Jewell Manspeaker) and the coat of arms on the wine label depicts a mystical dragon that represents both of their Scottish heritages.
Since starting out, Micah and Adrian have remained dedicated to their original winery vision of crafting vineyard designated wines from Sonoma and Humboldt Counties. They seek out growers who use sustainable farming practices and work closely with the property owners to monitor the fruit’s progress and the distinctive character of the sites. Grist Vineyard, the source for this month’s featured wine, rests majestically at 1,000 feet above sea level at the top of Bradford Mountain in Sonoma County, and it consistently produces award-winning Zinfandel. Joseph Jewell is one of the few wineries with access to Grist Vineyard and they strive to craft Zinfandels with brilliant expressions of the special site.
Micah and Adrian still serve as the sole employees and co-winemakers of Joseph Jewell and currently produce single-vineyard Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and a Rosé of Pinot Noir. With a number of prestigious awards already to their name, they look forward to a promising future while building the growing Joseph Jewell brand.
Map of the area
Adrian Jewell Manspeaker - Owner/Winemaker
Adrian grew up on the northern coast of California and found an appreciation early on for the micro-climates of his surrounding area. After moving to Sonoma County, he discovered his passion for wine and the transformation it goes through from vineyard to barrel to bottle. Living in Sonoma County gave him the opportunity to study enology and viticulture through UC Davis' extension program.
Shortly after, Adrian joined C. Donatiello and took the theories learned in class and applied them to the winery's 2007 crush as well as a stint at Peay Vineyards for their 2008 harvest. Adrian's intense drive and commitment are shown in every aspect of his work, from forming long-lasting relationships with growers, overseeing the design of the labels and being meticulous in the quality of the wine. He now has 12 years of winemaking experience and continues to produce some fantastic wines adorning his Joseph Jewell label.
The 2011 Pinot Noir comes from the Hallberg Vineyard in the Green Valley sub-appellation of the Russian River Valley. Named after the former owners, Don and Marcia Hallberg, the Hallberg Vineyard property was once home to 115 acres of Gravenstein apples.
Historically, this region was known for its apple orchards but starting in the mid 1980s, the apple industry moved north to Washington. In 1999, the Hallbergs decided to sell their property to Brice Jones of Sonoma-Cutrer Winery who recognized that the site had great potential for Pinot Noir
Today, the Hallberg Vineyard produces some of the finest Pinot Noir in the Russian River Valley and Joseph Jewell Wines is one of the few wineries with access to the fruit. Micah and Adrian began sourcing Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir in 2010 and they have had great success with the fruit vintage after vintage. Their 2011 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir is one of their best achievements to date and a brilliant expression of the vineyard.