Bottle Jack Winery is one of the newer tasting rooms to join the Santa Cruz wine scene, but owner John Ritchey has a history of making wines that reads something like a passport. If you could thumb through his background in the wine world, you'd see a year in Maldova with the Peace Corps, an enology degree from Fresno State, wine shop experience in Chicago, time in Europe, and internships at Beauragard and as well as David Bruce wineries.
John's travels reflect in his wine style. Bottle Jack wines tend to be a mix of Rhone, Italian, and Bordeaux styles. While spending a year in Italy, his host family—and the surrounding neighbors—made their own family wine in their backyard as well as grew much of their own produce. That way of life goes beyond farm to table. It's hand-to-table; resulting in everyday interaction with wine and food.
In 2012 John started making his own wine, and in 2014 Bottle Jack opened its large warehouse roll up door. Though just minutes from HWY 17, the tasting room feels casual, restful, and worlds away. All the wine making is done on site: offering views surrounded by oak trees, with picnic tables to enjoy your tastings.
John has a bit of the adventurer in him. His interest is to focus on different varietals, sourcing grapes from Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, and the Central Coast. Bottle Jack Wine Club Members had a chance to taste an 100% Teroldego. He went out on a limb purchasing the grapes without having tasted them. The Teroldego grape is originally from Northern Italy, but was purchased locally from a Santa Clara grower (who later sold off the land for housing.)
The result is a dark purple to garnet red wine, medium body. Opaque, but not inky. Tart, dry stone, soft berry jam on the palate, yet not as deep as a Syrah.
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