Last month, we stepped into a whimsical wonderland at James Cole Winery! 🎩🌹 From mad hatters to Cheshire grins, our Alice in Wonderland party was an enchanting adventure. 🐇🍷 We sipped on magic potions, danced with the Queen of Hearts, and fell down the rabbit hole of pure fun. 🌈🍾 Thank you all for joining us on this extraordinary journey! Until we meet again in Wonderland... ✨🌼
We would love to introduce you to our gal Lucy. Lucy is our 1945 vintage Chevrolet truck; once a hardworking harvest truck, Lucy has become a symbol of simpler times and a testament to the early days of James Cole Winery.
Lucy was first spotted being driven through the valley with a “For Sale” sign in the rear window, and, having just moved to Napa to begin their new winery venture, James and Colleen just knew that she had to be theirs. Unfortunately after a few closely watched miles, they lost sight of her and the owner and accepted that maybe it wasn’t meant to be.
However, a mere few months later, fate played its mysterious part when James and Colleen spotted her being driven by the same gentlemen yet again. This time, they knew they had to commit and followed her all the way to the owner’s driveway! After hearing a little history of the truck and it’s role as a great companion for the the owner and his family, James and Colleen bought Lucy right there on the spot.
Lucy got her name affectionately from her few shortcomings: her brakes, transmission were a little “loosey-goosey”, however, she was still a reliable workhorse, stepping up for dump and Home Depot runs and hauling supplies to and fro.
Lucy has finally earned her retirement and sits on property as a monument to the early days of James Cole winery. She is a reminder of all the hard work and dedication it took to build our winery; a simpler time when life was all about chasing dreams.
We are proud to have Lucy as part of our history. Come on by the James Cole Tasting Room and see her in person soon.
Tune in for a special video featuring our winemaker, Bertus van Zyl, and owner, James Harder, as they discuss our new 2021 Pinot Noir sourced from the Sun Chase Vineyard in Sonoma County.
Located where the Petaluma Wind Gap meets Sonoma Mountain, the 40-acre Sun Chase Vineyard is sustainably farmed and perched at a 1,200 to 1,400 feet elevation on a southwestern-facing hillside above the fog line. The result is a Pinot Noir that truly showcases the best of Sonoma County.
With an aromatic bouquet of fresh dark berry preserves, potpourri, and pomegranate that builds as the wine opens up, this Pinot Noir is a complex offering that delivers outstanding depth, power, and finesse. On the palate, dark cherries and wild strawberries combine with minerals and a hint of Asian spice to create a velvety texture that is seamless with bright, crisp, mouthwatering acidity, elegance, and sensuality.
Don't miss out on this charmer and experience the excellence of our most complex Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir to date. Order now and taste the difference of James Cole Winery's Sun Chase Vineyard Pinot Noir.
The long wait is over, and our winemaker Bertus expects bud-break in the next two or three weeks. While we patiently wait for the growing season to officially kick-off. We wanted to update you on what we have going on in the vineyard this spring.
As you might know, Napa Valley is renowned for producing some of the world's finest wines. Our region's unique terroir, climate, and soil provide ideal conditions for growing premium wine grapes. However, managing vineyards in Napa Valley is not without its challenges. To maintain the quality of the soil, control weeds, and promote biodiversity, we have turned to something called "cover crops" to plant amongst the vines.
The benefits of planting cover crops are numerous. For one, they help control soil erosion by reducing water runoff and increasing soil infiltration, which has been a blessing during these last few uncommonly rainy months. Cover crops also improve soil health by adding organic matter, fixing nitrogen, and improving soil structure. Additionally, they can suppress weeds, which reduces the need for herbicides and lowers production costs. Cover crops can also provide a habitat for beneficial insects and other wildlife, which helps to promote biodiversity in the vineyard ecosystem.
For this year, we planted every other row with a variety of beneficial cover crop, made from this seed mix:
35% Forerunner Triticale
10% Cayuse Oats
12.5% Dundale Peas (flowering)
12.5 % Magnus peas (flowering)
5% Lana Vetch (flowering)
5% Purple Vetch (flowering)
3% Crimson Clover (flowering)
15% Brassica Blend (Mustards, Radishes) (flowering)
Forerunner Triticale is a hybrid grain that provides excellent ground cover and suppresses weeds. Brassica Blend, which includes a variety of brassica plants like mustard and radish, helps to break up soil compaction and improves soil health. Dundale Peas and Magnus peas are legumes that fix nitrogen in the soil, which can reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers. Overall, this mix of cover crops helps to promote soil health, reduce erosion, and promote biodiversity in the vineyard ecosystem, all while maintaining the quality of our grapes. It also makes our James Cole estate vineyard look beautiful during these early spring months.
Make sure to check back in a couple of weeks as we get ready to kick off the 2023 growing season.
It’s no secret we love The Rolling Stones, but have you ever heard the story of how we got our hands on an electric guitar signed by the band? 🎸
This month, we sat down with James to talk about his love for The Rolling Stones, how it's shaped James Cole Winery and more. Watch the full interview below!
Harvest season often receives most of the glory, but we like to think that the winter season is one of the most beautiful and exciting times to visit Napa Valley and learn about our vineyards. Gone are the bustling crowds and long waitlists to taste at your favorite Napa winery. Instead, you'll find a serene environment perfect for an in-depth experience to learn about wine from how our grapes go from vine to bottle.
There is something hauntingly beautiful about grapevines in dormancy. The lush, leafy canopies of summertime have retreated, and we're left with dark and twisted trunks and bare canes, soaked from the season's rains. The vines offer a stark contrast to the vibrant greens and yellows from the cover crop growing between the rows. While it's true that the vine's growth above ground comes to a halt during the winter months, its root systems are busy soaking up nutrients, preparing for bud break in the spring.
The work in the vineyard doesn't end at harvest. In fact, winter pruning helps lay the groundwork for the upcoming growing season, determining how many buds will develop, and ultimately how many grape bunches the vine will yield. We'll begin this crucial step near the end of the month, trimming each cane down to the spur where this spring a new bud will form.
Some of the most vital work in the vineyard is not what's happening on the vines, but rather, what's growing between the vines. Planted amongst the rows of vines on the James Cole estate are two kinds of peas, two kinds of vetch, crimson clover and marigold. The rest of the blend is oats and triticale, which is a barley/ryegrass hybrid. While these cover crops offer strikingly beautiful views as they bloom, they also have an incredibly important job to do.
Not only do these cover crops improve soil health by introducing nitrogen, but they also help control pests, increase biodiversity and help with soil erosion. California receives little to no rain for much of the year, and without the established root systems of our cover crops, the heavy winter rains could wash much of the topsoil away, resulting in compacted earth with little life. With the help of our cover crops, we're able to retain the rain we receive each year in our soils and limit the amount of watering needed later in the season.
Want to experience the magic of the season? Book a tasting today at James Cole and experience a tasting of exclusive wine offerings in the friendly, casual atmosphere of our tasting room and outdoor property. You'll learn about our Estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon and the inspiration behind our bold red wines such as Il Mostro, Aliento and Mud's Kitchen Cabernet.