As I followed the long driveway through rolling hills to the grand, ivy-covered chateau-like Jordan Vineyard & Winery in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley, I kept thinking of its beginnings more than four decades ago.
Tasting the wines:
1972 Tom and Sally Jordan create Jordan winery, buying 277 acres in Alexander Valley.
1974 The Jordans hire famed winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff as a consultant and purchase another 1,300 acres.
1976 The first vintage of Jordan Cabernet is made, and the winery hires Rob Davis as winemaker.
1979 The first vintage of Jordan Chardonnay is harvested, from grapes planted in 1977.
1980 The first vintage of Jordan Cabernet is released.
1990 Rob Davis begins sourcing Chardonnay from Russian River Valley vineyards.
1999 The first harvest of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot from hillside slopes.
2000 The Chardonnay officially changes to a Russian River appellation; the winery vastly expands Petit Verdot plantings.
2005 John Jordan, Tom and Sally’s son, becomes CEO of the winery.
2012 The winery goes solar powered; the Jordans sell the original vineyard to a Native American tribe.
2015 Jordan transitions to using exclusively French barrels for the Cabernet Sauvignon.
2019 Rob Davis retires; Maggie Cruse becomes new winemaker.
Jordan Vineyards & Winery at a glance:
Founders: Tom and Sally Jordan
CEO: John Jordan
Location: Alexander Valley, Sonoma County
Total acres: 1,200
Estate vineyard: 112 acres
Grapes grown: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot
Other vineyard sources: Chardonnay, Russian River Valley since 2000
Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay
Winemaker: Maggie Cruse (Rob Davis, winemaker for 43 years, retired in 2019)
Annual production: 100,000 cases, 70,000 Cabernet, 30,000 Chardonnay