Jeff’s Corner

Howdy, Howdy, and one more Howdy,

Today and tomorrow, we are going to take a behind-the-curtain look at the wizards that make the magic at Grape Greek, Winemaker Jason Englert and his gang of alchemists. I’ve wanted to do this story for some time, and hope to follow up with pieces on all the various departments at GCV that function somewhat flawlessly to make it all happen.

Jason graduated from Texas Tech University with a BS in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. He spent 8 years at Llano Estacado Winery in Lubbock learning his craft from Greg Bruni. To me, Greg is one of the great pioneers of Texas winemaking, and Jason could not have had a better mentor.

Jason joined us at Grape Creek in 2004, and has since focused his efforts on producing the best wine possible by sourcing the highest quality grapes while using both advanced and traditional wine-making techniques.

I first met Jason in 2004 and he was a bit shy, humble, and very unassuming, qualities he still possesses today. In the spring of 2005 I brought one my wine classes from Del Mar College and Jason answered all kinds of crazy questions from my students with patience and not a hint of condescension. It was the high point of their trip.

Since Jason’s arrival, the quality of our wine continues to improve vintage after vintage under incredible pressure to increase production. In 2005 we produced about 2500 cases, this past year around 55,000. Over the past 14 years, that’s an increase of 3750 cases EVERY year.

The awards speak for themselves. The past three years at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, we have submitted 51 wines and received 50 medals, including many Best in Class, Double Gold, and Gold awards.

Jason has an uncanny ability to produce a wine and know how it will evolve over the next 5 years or so. In his own words, “We spend much of the early days helping to develop and guide the adolescent wines to become the best grownups they are capable of being”.

That’s all for now, but check back tomorrow and I’ll be back to talk about Jason’s supporting cast and the different roles they play in producing our fabulous wine.

We’ll see you on the flip side…