Jordan Winery in the Alexander Valley makes two wines. Literally two SKUs: a Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($40) and an Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($60). But yet, they almost always land on the top of the Wine & Spirits Magazine Restaurant Top 50 list, and are a very popular winery destination in the Alexander Valley.
As a winery, how do you create a dedicated, loyal following and encourage repeat visits, if you only make two wines? It’s the experience: the Jordan Experience. Once you’ve visited, you’ll understand.
The Jordan experience was birthed by husband and wife, Tom and Sally Jordan in 1972. Their goal was to create a Bordeaux-style California Cab that was approachable when young but that had aging potential. They quickly hired noteworthy winemaker André Tchelistcheff as the consulting enologist.
Rob Davis, winemaker, crafted Jordan’s first vintages; a Cabernet Sauvignon in 1976 and Chardonnay in 1979. He only recently retired in 2019 with assistant winemaker, Maggie Kruse taking over the winemaker role. Tom and Sally’s son, John, second-generation vintner, is now, CEO and actively involved in day-to-day operations at Jordan.
The Jordan Estate
Located in the hills of the Alexander Valley, one of the northernmost wine regions in Sonoma, the Jordan Estate spans 1200 acres with only 120 acres of that under vine. 80% of the acreage is dedicated to natural habitat. This is evident when you arrive to the property and make the long drive to the chateau – rolling hills and trees as far as the eye can see. In addition to vineyards, the property features lakes, streams, olive trees, pastures for cattle (50 cows graze on their hills), three goats, a chicken coop, and two donkeys. An apiary with bee hives and chef’s garden round out the sprawling property. Jordan is a Certified California Sustainable Vineyard and Winery.
With only two wines, why do people keep coming back to the Jordan Estate? They’ve curated complementary products to match the sumptuous and luxurious vibe of the Jordan experience. They make an estate olive oil and boast a partnership with Champagne house AR Lenoble to make a Jordan branded Cuvée Champagne, which majorly overdelivers for its $49 pricepoint. They also craft a caviar with Tsar Nicoulai of San Francisco.
In lieu of a wine club, Jordan’s Estate Rewards program offers a slew of perks for members to enjoy Jordan’s renowned hospitality through intimate experiences only available to them. Literally, no wine is shipped as a part of this membership. For every dollar spent at Jordan, members earn points to redeem for Jordan experiences. These experiences include access to events, private tables for food and wine pairings, gourmet lunches on the winery terrace, and overnight stays in Jordan’s luxury French-inspired suites. At a recent private dinner, back vintages of Jordan Chardonnay and Cabernet were served out of exquisite Baccarat crystal decanters.
Jordan Gives Back
A significant portion of the revenue from Jordan Winery funds the John Jordan Foundation, which is celebrating its 10th year. Their mission is to fight the negative effects of poverty in communities. Over the years they’ve supported 220 local partner organizations, supported 1,000 grants for teachers, and served over 400 schools. Jordan recently completed the Social Impact Summer event series, concluding with an al fresco wine and food pairing dinner highlighting 10,000 Degrees, a California-based nonprofit that provides students from low-income backgrounds a successful path through college and beyond, that the John Jordan Foundation has supported.
The goal of the culinary program at Jordan is to share a snapshot of Sonoma County on each plate. At a recent wine pairing dinner, Chef de Cuisine Jonathan Musto did just that. Much of the produce served came from the onsite chef’s garden visible from our seats. The highlight was a beautiful tisane tea tray served with flowers and herbs from the garden.
Tasting Experiences at Jordan Winery
To get the full Jordan experience, one must visit the estate. In classic Jordan style, there is not one central tasting room, but rather a series of venues and vignettes in which you can taste. The property boasts four distinct wine tours and tastings, all which include food pairings.
Winery Tour & Library Tasting ($75, 90 minutes)
Features a walking tour of the Jordan chateau followed by a seated cellar tasting. Throughout the experience, guests sample Jordan wines, hors d’oeuvre pairings, artisan cheeses and the winery’s estate olive oil.
Chateau Block Vineyard Tasting ($85, 90 minutes)
Features wine tasting at a hilltop vineyard across from the winery chateau. The tasting includes two vintages of Russian River Chardonnay and two vintages of Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – paired with our winemaker’s favorite cheeses, artisanal salumi from Journeyman Meat Co. and beautiful views of Alexander Valley vineyards and mountains.
Estate Tour & Tasting ($150, 3 hours)
Features a relaxing driving tour of the scenic Jordan Estate (from the comfort of a custom Mercedes Benz Sprinter) with stops at four destinations. Guests walk through the Jordan garden, visit the vineyards, sip Jordan wines, sample olive oil and nibble on the winery chef’s hors d’oeuvres with the backdrop of breathtaking views.
Holiday Tour & Tasting ($85, 90 minutes)
Taking place between Thanksgiving and Christmas and featuring a holiday toast with Jordan Cuvée by Champagne AR Lenoble, a walk amongst the historic oak tanks and a seated tasting in our cellar. Guests sample current release Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon with hors d’oeuvre pairings by our chef, finishing with homemade cookies and TCHO hot cocoa.
Brianne Cohen is an LA based event producer, certified sommelier, wine educator, and wine writer. During the pandemic, Brianne entertained over 7,000 people through her “Virtual Vino” online wine classes, regularly highlighting diverse (i.e. Black, BIPOC, female, and LGBT) owned wineries. She now offers both in-person (and virtual) wine tasting experiences for her corporate clients. Brianne regularly judges at international wine competitions, including the International Wine Challenge (IWC) in London and holds the WSET Diploma certificate. She writes on her own blog and for outlets such as Decanter, Vintner Project, and Kiplinger. She also holds an MBA from Loyola Marymount University. Brianne Cohen Wine & Events is a certified woman-owned business with WBENC.