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Bottling, Winemaker's Notes 04.25.2014

What is Custom Crush?

“Custom crush” is a term that refers to the process whereby one winery, the “host winery,” produces wine on behalf of another winery or wine brand, the “client winery.”  A custom crush facility may host one or several custom crush clients.  Typically the client winery does not have their own building or winemaking equipment and wants to expand their current production or enter the market before building their own winery. The various wines are kept separate and marketed by the client winery under their own labels.

Many large and small custom crush wineries have opened in California, and the concept has spread to Washington, Oregon, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and elsewhere.  Yet custom crushing has always been around the wine business.

In the mid-1980’s, the Federal Government began approving alternate methods and procedures to allow two or more proprietors to alternate the use of parts of a winery premise.

An “alternating proprietorship” is a term used to describe an arrangement in which two or more people take turns using the physical premises and equipment of a winery. Generally, the proprietor of an existing winery, the “host winery,” agrees to rent space and equipment to a new “client winery.”  All parties are responsible for their own wine operations, record keeping, reporting, labeling, taxes, etc.

Custom crush wineries provide an economical way to crush grapes, create wines, and bottle, warehouse and ship cased wines without the need for a winery to make a large investment in equipment facilities.

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Uncategorized 10.31.2013

Of Grapes & Gourmands: Bone Dance and Tomato Tart

This tomato tart is a delicious combination of Italian flavors, and the tomatoes add some acidity that goes well with our Bone Dance Merlot. This pairing is sure to please any group of hungry guests!


Ingredients (serves 6):
2 sheets of frozen puff pastry, thawed and rolled to fit 12″ x 16″ baking sheet
1 lb onions, thinly sliced
2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
4 TB extra-virgin olive oil
1 15-oz can tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 head garlic, roasted
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut 1/8″ thick
2 oz. anchovies, drained and halved lengthwise
20 Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Heat 2 TB olive oil over medium-low heat in skillet. Add onions and half of minced herbs and cook until onions are very soft.
3. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until the liquid is evaporated.
4. Stir in the roasted garlic, season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
5. Press puff pastry into pan and up sides. Prick the surface with a fork, then scatter with half of the cheese.
6. Top with tomato onion mixture, then lay the sliced tomatoes over the top and brush with 2 TB olive oil.
7. Top with anchovies, olives, remaining cheese and minced herbs.
8. Bake in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, then serve.

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Pairings 10.30.2013

Of Grapes & Gourmands: Turkey Chili and Soldiers of Fortune

As the weather cools down, now is the perfect season to cook up a big pot of chili for your friends and family. This one pot dish is easy to make and lasts for weeks in the freezer, getting you through these chilly autumn nights. Serve it with our 2008 Soldiers of Fortune to bring out the bold spiciness in the wine.


Ingredients (serves 6):
1 TB vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 ½ lbs ground turkey
¼ cup chili powder
2 bay leaves
1 TB unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp hot sauce
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth
2 TB tomato paste
1 15-oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1. In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the onions and sauté for ten minutes, or until browned.
2. Add the cumin and oregano and raise the heat to medium-high, stirring for another minute.
3. Add the ground turkey and cook until no longer pink, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon.
4. Stir in the chili powder, bay leaves, cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon and hot sauce.
5. Add the canned tomatoes and their juices and the chicken broth, then bring to a boil. Simmer for 45 minutes then taste for seasoning.
6. Remove the bay leaves and add the beans, stirring to combine. Continue simmering for another 15 minutes.
7. Ladle into serving bowls and top with sour cream, shredded cheese and scallions.

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Winemaker's Notes 10.30.2013

Syrah, Shiraz, Petite Sirah – Que Sera Sera!

Syrah and Shiraz are two names referring to one grape variety. Syrah is the name used by wine producers in France, as well as most producers in the New World. Shiraz is the name used by most producers in Australia and South Africa. It has become common for these two names to designate different wine styles: the “Syrah style” or “northern Rhône style” being generally more elegant, tannic, smoke-flavored and restrained with respect to their fruit component. The “Shiraz style” tends to be more fruit-driven, higher in alcohol, less obviously tannic, peppery rather than smoky, usually more easily approached when young, and possibly slightly sweetish in impression.

JAQK Cellars’ Soldiers of Fortune is created with the northern Rhone style as the ideal. Grapes grown on hillsides and bench-lands in the relatively cooler regions of the Napa Valley allow this ideal to be achieved.

There are several myths that purport to explain the origin of this variety, the most well known being that it was brought from the area around the city of Shiraz in Iran in either 600 BCE or 1300 CE. This myth has been debunked by DNA analysis conducted by Carol Meredith at UC Davis. Her Research shows that Syrah is the offspring of two varieties: the father is Dureza a dark-skinned grape variety from the Ardèche region in France and the mother is Mondeuse blanche a white grape variety cultivated in the Savoy region, still found in very small amounts in that region’s vineyards today. It is not known when these two parents cross-pollinated to create the new variety we call Syrah, but it is clear from the evidence that Syrah originates from the northern Rhône.

To further clarify, there is another variety called Petite Sirah, also known as Durif, which is a descendant of Syrah and Peloursin (dark-skinned). It was propagated by and named after Dr. Francois Durif. This varietal is similar to Shiraz, but even more full-bodied and tannic because of the smaller, thicker-skinned grapes used. Petite Sirah is widely planted in California, where it is popular as a stand-alone varietal and also blended with Zinfandel, which results in a rich, bold and fruity wine.

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Pairings, Uncategorized 01.4.2012

Of Grapes & Gourmands: Charmed and Shrimp Stir Fry

Our Charmed Sauvignon Blanc goes great with spicy, Asian flavors. The acidity of the Charmed cuts through the spiciness of the dish and makes a perfectly balanced meal.


1-2 red peppers, cut into slices
1 head of broccoli, florets only
6-8 brown mushroom caps, halved and sliced
1 zucchini, sliced into thin strips
1 carrot, sliced or shredded
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 cup of frozen, salad-sized shrimp (defrosted)
1 package of Shirataki noodles (tofu noodles, can be found at most grocery stores)

1 TB ginger, finely chopped
1 TB toasted sesame oil
3 TB low sodium soy sauce
1/2 TB yellow miso
1/2 TB Sriracha (or more, if you like it extra spicy)
2 cloves garlic, chopped

1. Prepare the sauce. Mix all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until combined. Set aside.
2. Under high-medium heat, coat a wok or a large non-stick pan with cooking spray.
3. Boil a pot of water for noodles.
4. Drain and rinse Shirataki noodles thoroughly.
5. Add onions, pepper, and carrots to wok and saute for 3 minutes.
6. Add broccoli, mushrooms and zucchini to wok and saute for 3 minutes.
7. Once water is boiling, add noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes.
8. Add shrimp to the wok and 2/3 of the sauce. Toss to combine.
9. Once the noodles are cooked, add to the wok with the remainder of the sauce and toss to combine.

Serve with Charmed Sauvignon Blanc and enjoy!

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Events 11.2.2011

Now Booking Semi-Private Tastings

Our fans can now enjoy the Urban Wine Tasting Experience in the JAQK Cellars tasting room without the hassle of getting a large group to commit. If you’re a pair or quartet contact us to book a reservation for our semi-private tasting, offered Monday through Thursday at 6pm.

The event proves to be an engaging and fun experience for friends sharing a special occasion, a date night, or for anyone looking for an excuse to taste new limited-production wines in their own city.

Your tasting includes five JAQK Cellars wines paired with local cheese, cured meats, artisan bread, fruit, nuts and chocolate. You will also receive 10% off any wine purchased that evening.

Call 415-398-1630 ext. 310 or email for pricing and to book a reservation.

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Pairings 06.13.2011

Of Grapes & Gourmands: 22 Black and Buffalo Sliders

Buffalo Sliders with Sundried Tomato Aioli

Our 22 Black Cabernet is a meat-lovers wine, and summer is the season for grilling. The gaminess of the buffalo meat combined with the sweetness of the aioli rounds out perfectly with the balanced heartiness of the 22 black.

1/4 cup drained sun-dried tomatoes
1 small garlic clove, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2/3 cups canola oil

1. Mince garlic in bowl of food processor.
2. Add remaining ingredients except for oil and mix.
3. Add oil in a slow steady stream.
*if you do not own a food processor, combine first four ingredients with 1 cup light mayonnaise.

2 lbs ground buffalo meat
1 egg yolk, beat
1 shallot, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix well.
2. Spoon 3 tablespoons of mixture into a ball and place on tray. Continue with remaining mixture.
3. Grill sliders 4 minutes on each side, then place on toasted mini bun.
4. Top with aioli and serve.
*You may prepare in advance and refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight.

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Events 06.6.2011

The Urban Wine Tasting Experience

Enjoy a unique, intimate tasting of our limited-production wines in our historic downtown location, complete with private tasting room and rooftop lounge. It’s the perfect way to get a real taste of Napa, without spending half the day sitting in the car. You also get to stroll through San Francisco’s storied Barbary Coast.

Learn the story behind JAQK Cellars wine while indulging your palate with a taste of our wines, paired with local cheese and meats, artisan bread, locally grown fruit and chocolate.

The Urban Wine Tasting Experience is offered the third Wednesday of every month from 5-7pm. Reserve a spot for yourself and some friends, or come alone and meet other fans of JAQK Cellars. We take up to 12 reservations, and they must be made at least one week in advance. The tasting fee is $35 per person.

Upcoming Tastings are on June 15, July 20 and August 17. For more information, email

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Notable 12.10.2010

The Society of the Tipsy King

Joining the JAQK Cellars wine club is a fun, convenient way to enjoy access to the best of JAQK Cellars. Collect and enjoy all eight limited-edition wines from our current release over the course of the year.

Club Level – Two bottles per quarter. A 10% discount off club shipments and all other wine orders.
Diamond Level – Four bottles per quarter. A 15% discount off club shipments and all other wine orders.
Heart Level – Six bottles per quarter. A 20% discount off club shipments and all other wine orders.
Spade Level – Twelve bottles per quarter. A 25% discount off club shipments and all other wine orders.

As a member, you’ll receive a membership card and number that entitles you to your discount; a quarterly JAQK newsletter with tasting notes, food and wine pairing ideas, recipes, games and more, as well as an invite to our quarterly wine club members-only Pick-Up Party at JAQK Cellars’ headquarters in San Francisco. You’ll soon have an online account with your details, shipment address, membership level and the ability to choose whether you’ll pick-up or have your wine shipped.

To enroll, or give the gift that keeps on giving, call us at (415) 398-1650 ext. 310 or email

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Events, Notable, Press 12.9.2010

SFMOMA Acquires JAQK Cellars

We are incredibly honored that all eight wines from JAQK Cellars have been acquired by and are featured in San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s current exhibit How Wine Became Modern. This exhibit is the first of its kind, looking at the world of wine and the role that architecture, design and media have played in its stunning transformation over the past three decades. The exhibit features historical artifacts, architectural models, multimedia installations, newly commissioned artworks, and even a “smell wall” to provide a richly textured experience that you won’t want to miss!

The exhibit runs from November 20, 2010 to April 17, 2011. While you’re there, be sure to stop by the Museum Store to see a collection of wine-related products created by Joel & Katie’s firm, Hatch Design, especially for the event.

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