It's not every winery site that has video of a nighttime harvest, tips on Halloween appetizers and cocktails and yummy fall menu ideas, like Maine lobster with chanterelles, not to mention links to video tweets and Flickr photos.
That the winery being described here is Jordan Winery, a decades-old cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay stalwart in the Alexander Valley, is an interesting statement about how a winery can simultaneously change its image, upgrade its wines and bring a whole new slew of consumers into the conversation with a little new thinking and a whole lot of fun.
Step one was generational transfer. Founder Tom Jordan in 2005 handed the day-to-day leadership reins to his son, John, a lawyer by training who was born on the day in 1972 that his parents signed the deed on their Alexander Valley estate.
The younger Jordan was committed to honoring his father's original vision, inspired by the great chateaux of Bordeaux, to make elegant, approachable wines intended for the dinner table.
"We've always made our wine in a traditional, Bordeaux-inspired, food-friendly fashion and resisted the trend over the years toward bigger, more extracted wines," he said.
"My parents had fallen in love with food first and felt wine should be a supporting factor, not be a food item itself."
Shaking things up
But he wasn't opposed to shaking things up a bit at the same time. So, step two was making things more interesting for longtime winemaker Rob Davis, who's been at Jordan almost 35 years.
Davis, who trained for decades under legendary wine guru Andre Tchelistcheff, Jordan's consulting winemaker in those early years, had been itching to source fruit from outside of the estate, a chance to raise the quality. John Jordan gave him the green light.
"John told me, go get better fruit, I'm not tied to anything in particular," Davis noted. "He's not just keeping things the same."
Davis went out immediately and found new sources of cabernet sauvignon in Alexander Valley to blend with his own estate hillside fruit.
"I felt like I had four wings," he added. "I did a lot of trespassing, started discovering new sites."
Cabernet franc vines that weren't adding much to the mix were replanted to petit verdot, a small percentage of which Davis uses to blend with the cabernet sauvignon. The use of more French oak barrels was introduced to better balance the wine's tannins.
And yet Davis stuck to making wines with relatively low alcohol levels, crafting his cabernets to be between 13.7 and 13.9 percent alcohol, the range he feels is optimally food friendly.
Jordan's chardonnay began to come from Russian River Valley vineyards, typically cooler than the sites where they had been growing and sourcing grapes in Alexander Valley. That allowed Davis to make a more Burgundian-style white wine, using less malolactic fermentation and less oak, letting the fruit's intensity speak for itself.
Leslie Sbrocco, author, TV host and founder of Thirsty Girl, a multimedia lifestyle company devoted to wine, food and travel, recommended the 2008 Jordan Chardonnay recently on "The Today Show."
"It's a beautifully pristine wine," she said.
"It's got that beautiful California fruit with classic European styling. It really goes great with food. It was a rediscovery."
Davis has worked hard to get it there.