Get the Dirt about J. Brix Wines

8 Sep

jbrixpeeps1. What was your first vintage year? 

2010 (after our true-garage vintage in 2009)

2. How many cases do you make per vintage? 

As we’ve grown, our production has increased from 75 cases to about 700 cases.

3. Do you have a Tasting Room? 

We don’t have a tasting room, but we’re always happy to welcome guests to the cellar. Email emily@jbrix.com if you’ll be in the area and would like to stop by!

4. If not you, who is your winemaker?
We (Jody and Emily) literally are a two-person winery. We do everything ourselves, from winemaking, to truck driving, to compliance forms, to janitorial work, to label design… etc., etc. (There is always something else to be done!)

5. How did you get your start in the winemaking business?

Through tasting and travel, we found ourselves drawn to the vineyards of the Central Coast. We worked harvest in 2008 at a friend’s winery and fell in love with the hands-on, messy, exhausting, exhilarating work. It was clear to us that we had to find a way to make our own wine. The following vintage, we gave it a go in our garage, and all grew quickly into a whole new life from there!

jbrixcorks6. What wine made you want to become a winemaker/start your own winery?

Tasting Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir for the first time led us to the vineyard, and then, at our first time helping out at harvest, those were the first winegrapes we’d ever touched. We knew — at first taste, and at first touch — the place was special, in a way we’d never before experienced. It changed us. It changed everything.

7. What varietals do you work with? Which varietal/wine is your favorite to make? Why?

We work with as many varieties as we can get our hands on! Grenache (both in rosé and red form), Syrah, Carignan, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling (still and sparkling -and in 2014, sweet!) … we try to add something new each year, because we love California and we want to showcase it in as many ways as possible. EVERYTHING is our favorite.

8. What vineyards do you source from? Why? If estate, why did you choose the spot you’re in? We work with stellar Central Coast vineyards, where we learned to make wine: Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard (Grenache), Alamo Creek Vineyard (Syrah), Kick On Ranch Vineyard (Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir); and one in San Diego County, where we live: McCormick Ranch Vineyard (Carignan). We look at a lot of vineyards, and we work with a few. It all comes down to, when we visit, whether we feel a connection with the land and the soil and the vines. It’s not something that can be explained; only felt.

9. What type of oak treatment do you use? Why?

We use only neutral oak, because we feel so strongly about the character of our vineyards that we want to allow that character to express itself, unadulterated. It will be different every year, telling the story of the seasons.

JbrixBottle10. What’s the story behind your name/label?

Jody’s middle name is Brix. Really! It’s an old family name, via a German great-grandfather. (His cousin Russell Brix still runs the multigenerational Brix Dairy Farm in North Adams, Michigan.) When we first started getting into wine, and realized the connection, it was one of those goosebump moments. (“Brix,” of course, is the measure of sugars/soluble solids in winegrapes, which is a very important measure of ripeness and picking decisions.)

11. What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you about the wine business before you started your own winery?
 Nothing. Not a thing! (Certainly, we’ve heard plenty since!) We started this project based on only love. We’ve had to grow up quite a bit along the way; but still, we face the road ahead knowing that we have love on our side. Our winery motto, printed on every label, is: Only Love. Whatever happens, this is our truth.

12. We’re curious…do you even get tired of drinking your own wine? Is it considered bad form to dip into your inventory?
 We don’t really make enough to drink very much of it! We try to stay on top of how everything’s tasting, but mostly, we like drinking other people’s wine, as often as possible.

13. Do you still have a day job?
 Yes, both of us still have full-time day jobs, and two children in different schools (5th and 9th grade), and a complete and utter lack of common sense, clearly.

For more information about J. Brix Wines, please visit their website or follow them on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.

Photographs by Kevin T. Vu

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