Joel Gott Wines
A brief history
Meet The Winemakers
Joel is a fourth-generation California vintner, and wine and food entrepreneur. Born in Napa Valley and raised in the Sierra Foothills where his parents started Montevina Winery, Joel later moved to Carmel and upon graduating high school went to work for Kenwood Winery in Sonoma County. He later got a job with Real Restaurant Group before venturing out on his own.View More
In 1993, Joel and his brother Duncan scraped together the money to purchase Palisades Market in Calistoga, transforming the small market into a retail shop with gourmet prepared foods and fine wines. Running the market gave Joel an education in business and a view of the wine industry that allowed him to spot the need for quality, value wines in the marketplace.
Maxing out his credit cards, Joel purchased several tons of Amador County Zinfandel from a family friend and grape grower in 1996. He made the wine with the help of his then-girlfriend and winemaker Sarah, whom he married the following year. Praised by the Wine Spectator, the Wine Advocate and the New York Times, Zinfandel helped put Joel Gott Wines on the map, and gave Joel the chance to produce additional varietals.
In 1999, Joel spotted another opportunity when a historic St. Helena burger stand came up for lease. Planning to lease only the parking lot for a produce stand, Joel and Duncan decided to rebuild Taylor’s Refresher (now named Gott’s Roadside). The stand quickly became famous for its gourmet burgers and milkshakes. Today, there are seven additional locations within the Bay Area.
Joel then partnered with Charles Bieler and Roger Scommegna on the upstart wine brand Three Thieves in 2001. Now partnered with Trinchero Family Estates, the two companies produce Bandit and The Show. In May 2009, Joel announced a joint venture with Trinchero Family Estates for the marketing and distribution of Joel Gott Wines. Another wine brand partnership would follow with Charles Bieler to produce Shatter, a French Grenache.
Today, Joel and his wife Sarah’s latest venture is the opening of the Station, a historic gas station turned corner store located in St. Helena that offers grab-and-go items such as coffee, pastries, sandwiches, salads, drinks, soups and more.
Sarah grew up in Marin County and, later, in Knights Valley, a stretch of farmland and vineyards linking Napa Valley with Alexander Valley in northern Sonoma County. It was in Knights Valley that Sarah first gained an appreciation of wine that led her study in the University of California at Davis’ Viticulture and Enology Department, where she graduated in 1993 with a degree in Fermentation Sciences.View More
Following graduation, Sarah worked a few internships including one in Australia and one at Joseph Phelps Vineyards in Napa Valley which later became a full-time position. In 1997, while working at Phelps, Sarah married vintner and entrepreneur Joel Gott, who had launched Joel Gott Wines in 1996 with Sarah as an informal winemaking consultant. Sarah remained at Phelps until 2002, eventually becoming winemaker with day-to-day responsibility for all production activities.
At her next position as winemaker at Quintessa—a Napa Valley winery producing a single, Bordeaux-style red—Sarah was allowed greater involvement in the rapidly growing Joel Gott Wines. In the harvest of 2003, Joel and Sarah had their first daughter, Lucy, and the following year Sarah left Quintessa to focus on their growing family which grew by having two more children.
When Sarah is not at the winery, she can be found competing in various triathlons across the country including Ironman competitions.
Joel Gott Wines Wines
We source fruit for this blend from vineyards within Santa Barbara County and Monterey, both part of the Central Coast AVA, because of its ideal growing conditions for creating the style of Pinot Noir that we like to make. Vineyards closest to the coast in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation experience cool, foggy mornings and warmer afternoons, bringing out well-developed fruit flavors in the grapes. Fruit from the cool, marine influenced Monterey appellation experiences a longer hang time resulting in slow, even ripening bringing out bright, fruit flavors and well-balanced acidity.
Fruit from vineyards within the Sonoma appellation offers minerality and complexity. The cool, marine influenced Monterey, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo vineyards provides the wine with its bright fruit flavors and well-balanced acidity.
We hand select fruit from Oregon’s Willamette Valley, where the cool climate is ideal for growing flavorful Pinot Gris grapes. This wine showcases some of the AVA’s most prized sub-appellations, including Dundee Hills and Eola-Amity Hills. A diverse range of microclimates and soil types across varied vineyard sites allows us to craft a well-rounded, balanced and fruit-forward Pinot Gris.
To make a well-balanced red wine, we blended Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Alicante, Malbec and Syrah from six different appellations in California. Fruit from Napa Valley lends complexity while Sonoma adds a touch of spice to the blend. Amador fruit adds concentration while Mendocino fruit gives the wine its color, rich, ripe fruit flavors and tannins. Lake County adds structured tannins and minerality while fruit from Lodi rounds out the blend adding rich flavors and soft texture.
Napa Valley fruit adds complexity and wellbalanced acidity while fruit from Monterey, part of the larger Central Coast AVA, enjoy a lengthy growing season, adding depth of color and well-structured tannins. Because of the warmer than usual weather, fruit clusters from the Lodi appellation were smaller in size, with good concentration and flavor. Sourcing from these varied regions across California help to create an elegant and well-balanced wine.