Chef Carl's Pumpkin Pairings Trio

J Vineyards & Winery has been at the forefront of the wine and food experience since our first tasting program launched in 1999. All of the recipes have been created by our J Culinary Team to pair perfectly with our exceptional portfolio of varietal and sparkling wines.

Cinderella Pumpkin Soup


1 Large Cinderella Pumpkin, peeled and cut in 1 1/2-inch chunks
4 Tbl J Vineyards and Winery Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Shallots, peeled and diced
2 Cloves Garlic, peeled and smashed
1 Small Finger Ginger, peeled and diced
3 Tbl Salt
1 Bay Leaf
3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
1 Tbl Red Pepper Flakes
2 Cups J Vineyards and Winery California Pinot Gris
1 Gallon Chicken or Vegetable Stock
Crème Fraiche for Garnish


Heat up 2 tablespoons of the J olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, ginger and cook them until they are translucent.

Add the cut-up pumpkin and keep cooking until it starts to break down, and you can start smelling the aroma of the pumpkin.

Add the salt, bay leaf, thyme, red pepper flakes and continue to cook for 1 min. Deglaze the pan with the J California Pinot Gris and reduce until there is almost no wine left. Add the chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Remain simmering until the pumpkin is tender.

Working in small batches, blend all the ingredients in a blender adding the remaining J Olive oil to give the soup a creamy, smooth texture. Check seasoning and add salt if needed.

Serve the soup in individual bowls, adding a dollop of crème fraiche on top of the soup.


Pumpkin Seed Brittle


2 cups Sugar
1 Cup Corn Syrup
1 Cup Water
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
3 Cups Toasted Pumpkin Seeds


Combine sugar, corn syrup, water in a heavy bottom sauce pan, with plenty of room for the mixture to expand. Using a candy thermometer heat mixture to 320 degrees Fahrenheit.

While the mixture is coming up to temperature, take two p[pieces of wax paper and spray them with non-stick spray. Put to the side and have ready.

Carefully but quickly, stir in the salt and baking soda using a wooden spoon. The mixture will bubble up, so be careful. Quickly add the toasted Pumpkin seeds and mix till fully incorporated.

Spread the hot mixture on one piece of the wax paper and cover with the second paper, spryed side on the mixture. With a rolling pin, gently roll the mixture out until it is even and at the desired thickness. I roll it out to about 1/8 inch.

Let cool, then store in an airtight container until you finish eating all of it.


Roasted Cheese Pumpkin Salad with Arugula and Ricotta Cheese


1 Cheese Pumpkin (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut in 1 1/2-inch chunks
¼ Cup J Vineyards and Winery Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbl Kosher Salt plus more to season salad
3 Tbl Pure Maple Syrup
2 Tbl Lime Juice
1Tbl Dijon Mustard
3 bunches Arugula, thick stems removed, washed and dried
6 oz. Ricotta Cheese
1/4 Cup Toasted Pepitas


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Toss the cut pumpkin with 3 tablespoons of J Olive Oil and salt. Place on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender.

While the pumpkin is still hot, drizzle half of the maple syrup on the pumpkin and place back in the oven for 5 min. Toss the pumpkin around and place back in the oven for 5 more minutes, until the pumpkin is coated with the maple syrup.  Remove from oven and let cool.

In a nonreactive bowl, add the lime juice, mustard, maple syrup and whisk together. While whisking, slowly stream the remaining J Olive Oil in the mixture until it is all fully incorporated. This is a maple vinaigrette.

Gently toss the roasted and cooled pumpkin with the maple vinaigrette. Add the arugula to the pumpkin and gently toss a little more. Top the salad with crumbles of ricotta cheese, toasted pepitas and serve.