Bow Tie Vineyard – Great Wine Is In The Soil


Winemaker Nicole Hitchcock


Our Bow Tie Vineyard follows the undulating curves of the Russian River’s western shore. It’s located in Russian River Valley’s Middle Reach neighborhood, and the vineyard’s unique terroir highlights ancient riverbeds that have been deposited over millennia.

J’s founder Judy Jordan dubbed the vineyard Bow Tie during a helicopter ride over the region. As she flew directly above the vineyard, she observed its outline as a distinct bow tie shape. Because it reminded her of her grandfather Nick’s signature bow tie, she named the vineyard to honor him.

Judy was a geologist and understood that soil is indisputably linked to the wine grown in it. We have a varied assortment of soil series at Bow Tie. The riverbed deposits of gravel, sand and clay that make up the Zamora, Yolo and Cortina soil series are ideal for our Chardonnay. The well-drained sandy loam, called Arbuckle, contributes to our Pinot Noir’s lush mouthfeel.

As winemaker, I visit Bow Tie Vineyard frequently throughout the year. In January, our vineyard manager and I develop a game plan for when and how to prune the dormant vines. Once the growth cycle starts and the vines awake from dormancy in the early spring, I begin visiting more frequently, observing canopy growth, fruit set and cluster formation. As the fruit progresses through veraison and the harvest season commences, I’m visiting the vineyard nearly every day.

Winemaker Nicole Hitchcock in the vineyard

Winemaker Nicole Hitchcock

While walking the vineyard’s 38 acres, I’m perpetually in awe of the beauty of the landscape. Pinot Noir grows on a 22-acre bench at the top of the vineyard, and from there I can see spectacular vistas. The majestic Mount St. Helena to the east gives way to a dramatic drop down to the Russian River that heads west through the valley and out to the Pacific Ocean.

The Russian River Valley is most influenced by two significant elements – weather and geology. The fog that rolls in from the Pacific provides optimal temperatures for producing exceptional Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. And the sandy, loamy and clay alluvial soil deposits allow these grapes to grow exceedingly well.

Planted in 2009, the vineyard is coming into perfect maturity right now and it’s really exciting to see the outstanding quality of fruit being produced. Bow Tie’s varied terrain and clonal diversity translates into wine lots that are distinct in flavor, yet retain signature terroir-driven qualities. The site gives me so much to work with. The classic Russian River soils impart extraordinary purity, nuance and delicacy to our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. As a winemaker, I consider it both a challenge and an honor to craft wines that bring to life Bow Tie’s unique terroir.

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