J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines

The J. Lohr Story: Blending Tradition with Innovation

About

Lohr Vineyards & Wines is dedicated to producing flavorful wines that are the finest examples of quality and flavor from our given appellations. We are committed to honesty, excellence and service, with a respect for our employees, suppliers, customers, and the long-term health of our company and the environment. We welcome you to our two distinct tasting room locations, where we will acquaint you with our wines and help you choose books, logo apparel, and other gifts to commemorate your visit, along with wine to share with friends and family.

Location Description

Our J. Lohr San Jose Wine Center is approximately 1.5 miles from downtown San Jose, and roughly 10 minutes from Mineta San Jose International Airport.

1000 Lenzen Avenue
San Jose, CA 95126.

Our J. Lohr Paso Robles Wine Center, overlooking our lush Seven Oaks Cabernet vineyards, is just 7 miles from Interstate 101.

6169 Airport Road
Paso Robles, CA 93446

Features

  • 40 years of family winemaking.

Additional Information

  • Meeting / Conference Facilities:
  • Caves:
  • Wedding Facilities:
  • Picnic Facilities:
  • Dog Friendly:
  • Winery Tours:
  • Wine Tasting:
  • Art or Architecture:
  • Organic / Biodynamic:
  • Awards:
  • Wine Club:
  • Lodging / Bed & Breakfast:

Winemaker

40 years ago, Jerry Lohr was a young California vintner who was among the first to realize the tremendous potential of Monterey County to produce world class wines. The son of a hard working South Dakota farming family, Jerry understood that every crop finds its perfect home in a unique combination of site, soil and climate.

History

Four decades ago, the California Central Coast had yet to emerge as one of North America’s world-class winegrowing regions. With little history or viticultural precedent, planting on the Central Coast was a gamble. One of an early handful of pioneers, Jerry Lohr was among the first to realize the vast, untapped potential of this now-acclaimed region with the establishment of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines.

In the late 1960s, Jerry began an extensive investigation of California grape growing regions while searching for the ideal location for a vineyard. Raised on a South Dakota farm, his agricultural roots armed him with an innate sense for the intricacies of climate, soil quality and location. His research and instincts led him to the Central Coast, a unique location with one of the longest growing seasons in all of California. Selecting the Arroyo Seco appellation of Monterey County for his first vineyard, Jerry planted his original 280 acres of winegrapes in 1972 and 1973, and unveiled his San Jose winery in 1974.

Borrowing a lesson from the French—that great Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon excel in very different growing conditions—Jerry began planting Cabernet Sauvignon and other red varieties in San Luis Obispo County’s little-known Paso Robles region in 1986. With the hands-on devotion of an artisan farmer, Jerry tended to the vines while diligently working toward the creation and development of an adjacent winery and barreling facility, which was completed in 1988.

The Team

Jerry Lohr, Founder and Proprietor
Steve Lohr, Chairman and CEO
Cynthia Lohr, Vice President Marketing
Lawrence Lohr, Director of Wine Education
Jeff Meier, President/Chief Operating Officer
Steve Peck, Red Winemaker
Agapito Vazquez, Vineyard Manager - Greenfield, Monterey County
Steve Carter, Vineyard Manager, Paso Robles
David Mezynski, Vice President of Production
Karl Antink, White Winemaker
Brenden Wood, Assistant Winemaker
Ken Lee, Senior Vice President Sales

Practices & Techniques

J. Lohr and the Three Es of Sustainability:

Environment, Equity (Social), Economics
We at J. Lohr believe our comprehensive, sustainable approach to farming and producing wines is good for our environment, our employees, and our communities. This commitment to sustainability naturally begins in the vineyards—where the health and vitality of the vines dictate the flavors in our wines—and follows through to our state-of-the-art practices, to our many partners, and is demonstrated in our industry leadership.

Environment:

Sustainable farming

We prepare our 3,000 acres of estate vineyards using mineral-based amendments such as limestone, marble white, and composted waste from previous vintages, years before we plant new vines and throughout the lifecycle of the vineyard. Processes which revere the natural ecosystem—including composting our waste materials along with chipping of removed vines and prunings (versus burning the vines)—also help fortify the land. Continual monitoring of water status in vines and soil through weather data, evapo-transpiration assessment via solar panel technology, and moisture sensors, help calibrate water needs and schedule deficit and drip irrigation. This results in average usage of only one acre foot of water per acre per year. Once vines are planted, we maintain permanent cover crops to limit carbon dioxide emissions and weed growth, preserve soil integrity and enhance soil health, and prevent erosion.

Pest management

Owl boxes on J. Lohr’s satellite ranches help mitigate vertebrate pests, while our home ranch has a substantial number of oak trees which are a natural habitat for birds of prey. Water troughs near these trees serve to hydrate birds amidst dramatic temperature fluctuations. Weather data and degree-day calculations are used to minimize the use of pest-related sprays, as are minimizing soil tillage, regular leaf removal, maintaining vine vigor, and controlling vehicle speed to reduce pest-enhancing dust. Vineyard employees are trained to keep detailed records of pest lifecycles, which impact economic decisions in the vineyard while allowing beneficial weeds and insects to thrive.

Water conservation
J. Lohr's Safety & Environmental Coordinator Jeff Zucker has instituted a comprehensive water conservation program which has cut water usage by 1/3 since 2003, and which has also helped optimize the use of waste water to improve system performance. Click here to for the video. Our approach to water conservation also ties water usage to land, through state-of-the-art practices including stress-inducing deficit irrigation, and benchmarking aquifer usage. To better understand ways to optimize water usage, J. Lohr is participating in a usage study of 100 vineyard sites in the Estrella sub-basin, the region surrounding the river of the same name which bisects the Paso Robles appellation and flows west to northwest to the Salinas River. Check here to read the full interview with Jeff.

Clean energy
J. Lohr believes clean, renewable energy is critical to sustainability and is essential for preserving the environment. As part of our ongoing commitment to energy conservation, we use motion-sensitive lighting in our barrel rooms and throughout our Paso Robles production facility. In February 2009, J. Lohr announced the largest solar initiative of its kind in North America. Click here to learn more about our 3-acre solar tracking arraywhich offsets 75% of the winery’s energy usage in Paso Robles.

Packaging materials and recycling
J. Lohr recycles packaging materials including bottles, cans, plastic, plastic shrink wrap, paper and cardboard, in addition to production and operational materials including batteries, light bulbs, tires, cork, wood pallets and wood packaging. J. Lohr is also exploring more environmentally-favorable inks and packaging processes which reduce the number of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) released into the atmosphere.

Estate Vineyards / AVA

Our three winegrowing regions—Paso Robles in San Luis Obispo County, Arroyo Seco and Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County, and St. Helena, located in the heart of Napa Valley—offer distinct attributes which influence the flavors in the wines from each of these appellations.

MONTEREY

For lovers of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Monterey County’s Arroyo Seco appellation is ideal. Its rare confluence of stony, loam soil and maritime climate work together to yield grapes with tremendous fruit intensity, the hallmark of the region’s natural riches.

J. Lohr oversees over 1,300 acres of estate vineyards here, having planted our first Chardonnay grapes in the early 70s. These original vineyards have supplied fruit for over twenty years for our iconic J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay, celebrated for its enticing, stone fruit flavors of peach and nectarine. Possessing perhaps the longest growing season of any California winegrowing region, Arroyo Seco is the perfect setting for additional cool-climate varietals, including our crisp and beautifully floral J. Lohr Estates Bay Mist White Riesling and J. Lohr Estates Wildflower Valdiguié, a French varietal produced stylistically to echo the light, berry Gamay of Beaujolais. Cooling afternoon winds contribute to two other lush and nuanced Chardonnays in our portfolio: J. Lohr Arroyo Vista Chardonnay, which marries mineral and citrus fruit flavors with Burgundian winemaking techniques, and J. Lohr October Night Chardonnay, which has an aromatic, floral expression owing much of its unique character to the Dijon clone 809. After years of vineyard trial and experimentation, we also now have two Pinot Noirs grown in the Arroyo Seco: J. Lohr Estates Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir, with aromas of red fruit, lilac, rose petal, vanilla and notes of sage and thyme, and J. Lohr Fog’s Reach Pinot Noir,

The famed extended growing season of Arroyo Seco occasionally blesses us with the development of Botrytis (the noble mold). In recent years, Botrytis has enhanced our J. Lohr Late Harvest White Riesling, yielding sweet, intense flavors of dried apricot, orange blossom and honey, all balanced by a crisp acidity.

We also are pleased to introduce our first wines from two exceptional vineyards in Monterey County’s acclaimed Santa Lucia Highlands appellation, with the first fruit harvested in the fall of 2010. Planted on the loamy, rocky, northeast-facing slopes and terraces of the Santa Lucia Mountain range, our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines receive plenty of morning sunlight before benefiting from afternoon breezes that sweep in off of Monterey Bay, cooling the vineyards. Like grapes from the Arroyo Seco, Santa Lucia Highlands fruit is known for its deeply expressive yet nuanced aromas and flavors. But where our Chardonnays and Pinots from Arroyo Seco reflect more classic, Burgundian-style characteristics, our wines from Santa Lucia Highlands are expressed in a distinctly New World style. The J. Lohr Highlands Bench Chardonnay reflects tropical flavors - intense notes of passion fruit, pineapple and juicy ripe peach. Our J. Lohr Highlands Bench Pinot Noir is deeply Californian in character, with pure sour cherry and raspberry flavors.

PASO ROBLES

Known for its extreme growing conditions and well-drained, gravelly and sometimes chalky limestone soil, Paso Robles is one of three California appellations producing Bordeaux and Rhône varietals worthy of international acclaim. Akin to the climates of Alexander Valley in Northern California’s Sonoma County and the Rutherford district of Napa Valley, Paso Robles is known for fifty-degree temperature swings between dawn and afternoon. When combined with the area’s scant moisture, the resulting Cabernet fruit is intense and concentrated with forward fruit aromas and flavors - similar to its northern counterparts, but with riper and softer tannins. At J. Lohr, we’ve captured the promise of these vineyards since first discovering them over 25 years ago, and strive to always highlight the attractive, fresh aromas and mouth-filling flavors of wines from this region.

As we farm 2,100 gross acres of vineyards in this area that is so ideal for growing Bordeaux and Rhône grapes, nearly all of the red varietals and blends in our signature portfolio come from Paso Robles. Our popular J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon has become almost synonymous with the rich cherry and black currant flavors of the region, while in this climate our J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot shows off lavish yet nuanced plum and blueberry pie flavors. Our J. Lohr Estates South Ridge Syrah thrives similarly amidst these challenging conditions.

We produce our J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon shows off lavish yet nuanced plum anfrom grapes grown on the high, sunny slopes and hills among our Paso Robles holdings, while Tower Road Petite Sirah comes from small vineyard enclaves of the Estrella and San Miguel Districts. Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah hold premier rank in Paso Robles, and these two wines are consistently produced from the highest caliber of fruit, showing deep berry flavors.

Seizing the benefits of the challenging climatic conditions once more, the J. Lohr Cuvée Series is a magnificent trio of Bordeaux-style blends reflecting the artistic expression of Bordelais winemaking from the districts of St. Emilion, Pauillac and Pomerol - yet with a unique California accent. Cabernet, Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes for these wines are harvested from our gravelly and well-drained soils, and demonstrate a passionate sense of adventure and determined evolution, both in the vineyard and cellar.

ST. HELENA, NAPA VALLEY

In the St. Helena appellation of Napa Valley lies a 35-acre parcel of land called Carol’s Vineyard, named after Jerry Lohr’s late wife, to whom he was married for 48 years. Here, ideal temperatures and clay loam soils provide superb conditions for growing both Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. The climate also mimics that of Bordeaux. As a result, Carol’s Vineyard has yielded fruit of exceptional quality, character and depth of flavor for over two and a half decades. Grapes used in our J. Lohr Carol's Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc are hand-harvested in the cool of morning, crushed, gently pressed, and fermented primarily in stainless steel barrels to retain the varietal's bright, crisp gooseberry and grapefruit flavors. To complement this wine’s classic style, a small portion of the fruit is fermented in new French oak barrels for added depth and complexity. The fruit for our J. Lohr Carol's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is also hand-harvested to preserve the intense flavors and colors. Blended with Petit Verdot and aged in French oak barrels for 18 to 20 months, this Cabernet is defined by deep black cherry and currant flavors and aromas, with a hint of licorice.

Awards

2010 American Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

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Hours

J. Lohr San Jose Wine Center 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Daily (closed New Years Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day) J. Lohr Paso Robles Wine Center 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Daily (closed New Years Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day)

Address

1000 Lenzen Avenue
San Jose, California 95126
United States

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