J Vineyards and Winery – A Must Visit Destination for Exceptional Wines and Food in Russian River Valley – James Melendez

J Vineyards and Winery is the one of the few places where you can have a sparkling wine tasting and sit down and experience a seasonally adjusted food and wine pairing.


Pinot Gris Sign

I have seen J grow in their artistry and their assortment of wines still and sparkling. In Northern California it is especially difficult to find a great winery to visit that has any food service. And this is often the function of the respective county or municipality and the number of rarefied number of licenses available. Luckily J Vineyards and Winery has put theirs to exceptional use.  It’s one thing to have the right license but another to execute the business to the highest level of great service, brand experience and stellar wines.

Last year being in Okanagan Valley I could count at least a dozen wineries that had food service the same cannot be said for Sonoma or Napa Counties. It may be hard to imagine a significant and impressive tasting menu in your head versus actually having one to try.  Sparkling wine is often subjugated to a starter or celebratory wine instead of being a wine continuously served during a meal. Even further is that one could suppose that sparkling wine have a limited range of what can be served. But until it is done one can finally taste great sparkling wines paired with exceptional food to expand their horizons.

Wine brands are probably born every day—around a dining room table and a great imagination of what can be.   Wine brands maybe born but it is the only most passionate and visionary ones that survive the long stretch. Judy Jordan the founder of J Vineyards and Winery and who was educated at Stanford created J to showcase outstanding Russian River Valley sparkling wines. Judy has been a visionary of not just selecting great sites but to select a business and wine making team to create a compelling label and to give an exceptional experience for everyone who walks through their doors.

I find J’s sparkling wine program to be extra thoughtful and many cuvées containing Pinot Meunier to the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to blend in extra depth and beauty.  J Vineyards and Winery has also expanded their still wine program with Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinotage, and Pinot Meunier.  J also has an exceptional Pear Liqueur and Ratafia.

There are several thoughtful ways to visit J.

  •           J Terrace – food and wine pairings outside
  •           J Tour and Tasting – great way to view the behind the scenes of this winery
  •           J Signature Tasting – tasting through selected wines at the tasting bar
  •           J Bubble Room – chef prepared, seasonally adjusted and optimum wines for each food course. This is my favourite experience. In general service is outstanding at J and I think the Bubble Room is fun to treat your self to an extra pampered experience with exceptional food and wine.

Late last year I visited the Bubble Room and was delighted with the tasting menu. Somewhere between a complete meal and heavy appetizers—fully appreciable and satisfying. The price point is $75 per person and $60 for Club J Members – an outstanding price point for what you get.

Here is both the food and wines I experienced:

2007 J Vintage Russian River Valley Brut – 9.3 (93 Points)

Paired with Coastal Hill Duck Egg, Celery Root and Truffle

Bin 1008 Russian River Valley NV Sparkling Wine 9.3 (93 Points)

Paired with Goat milk yogurt, Quinoa, and wheat grass

Goat Milk Yogurt

J Vintage Brut Russian River Valley Late Disgorged Brut 2005 – 9.5 (95 Points)

Such a spectacular wine—highly nuanced and yet definitive in character, graceful, and elegant; easily one of my all time favourite wines.

Paired with Petrale Sole, Dungeness Crab, Kohlrabi and Citrus

Petrale Sole

J Vintage Russian River Valley Brut 2008 – 9.4 (94 Points)

Paired with Niman Ranch Pork, Quince, Cabbage and Wheat Berries


J Brut Russian River Valley NV Rose – 9.3 (93 Points)

Paired with Cheese Plate – Moses Sleeper, duck Proscuitto, Persimmon

Cheese plate

J Russian River Valley Ratafia – 9.4 (94 Points)

Paired with Chocolate Cremeaux, coconut and Pecan Brittle


Here are a few videos of some of my favourite J wines:


For more information and to make a reservation for any of the special tastings or tour be sure to contact:

J Vineyards and Winery, 11447 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg, CA 95448

Telephone: 888.594.6326



About James Melendez

I love wine and have had the privilege of working in the wine trade as a senior national wine marketing manager for a wine, food and home goods retailer in 30+ US States. I executed into making wine experiential and made 'wines of the world' programme work in a highly regulated framework for a successful business proposition. My "wine" site also incorporates those categories intimately involved with wine such as food, travel and lifestyle. This site incorporates my many dimensions of interest. I love to review and also talk about many aspects of wine. I have been privileged to visit many wine countries and find them enthralling no matter how many times I visit. I love all aspects of wine: viticulture, history, winemaking, brand development, wine regions and many more aspects. This is a living tradition that needs documentation, education, reporting and reviewing. Do I have favourite varieties and styles? I love so many varieties and often it is situational and yet there are time honoured wines that I anticipate and I am passionate about. I like all colours of wine and all styles. I have had a mad passionate affair with sparkling wines and they are always top of mind. Wine nourishes our soul and is the key to connecting with other people at our dinner table. Salute, James © 2014, 2017 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy. James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social medias.
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