Blending Craft and Community 4

LJ Crafted Wines

LJ Crafted Wines is an eminently innovative and award-winning winery, offering exquisite wines while practicing environmental preservation and community involvement. Owner and founder Lowell Jooste possesses 25 years of experience, with expertise from his roots in South Africa and a meaningful personal history. Tracing back four generations to his great grandfather, Jooste grew up immersed in the industry. He proceeded to own and operate the family winery and vineyard for a quarter century before selling and relocating to California in 2012.

Extensive knowledge combined with an inventive vitality earned the local business numerous awards: Finger Lakes International Wine Competition (the fifth largest international wine competition in the world) recognized LJ Crafted Wines with the Double Gold Award for their Patient Terrier Vineyard Pinot Noir. Other notable distinctions include recognition from the Winemaker Challenge and Wine Review Online. However, undeniable success is no coincidence, as every step in their meticulously researched process bears the same degree of consideration and craft.

In order to attain such accolades, grapes are initially selected from the finest vineyards of the renowned Napa Valley. Due to the unique profiles of individual wine grapes requiring differing climates, particular varieties are collected from separate locations. “Our wine is single vineyard,” expert sommelier Derek Bacciocco explains, “which means each wine comes from one vineyard and is never blended.”

While the quality and taste of LJ Crafted Wines established its distinguished profile, perhaps its most exceptional attribute is an innovative technology introducing a novel method of environmental preservation and taste enhancement. The Wine Steward, an avant-garde apparatus designed by Jooste, allows their specialty wines to be transported and served directly from barrels. Not only eliminating harmful waste emission involved in the bottling process, this further preserves the integrity of the original wine.

“Only 30 percent of bottles get recycled,” Jooste shares, “leaving 70 percent of bottles as additional waste, filling dumpsites and harming the atmosphere.” With each barrel of wine containing roughly 300 bottles, the number of bottles saved by their methodology stretches over one mile if bottles were aligned adjacently.

Further in the spirit of environmental conservation, the shop interior is comprised of repurposed components from the 2014 earthquake, an event destroying the majority of their barrels. Wood from the damaged receptacles lines the shop walls and glass holders, while silver hoops binding the barrels now serve as decorative light fixtures. Beyond the symbolic significance, the recycled pieces accentuate the beautiful ambience.

The entire atmosphere of the Birdrock shop perfectly represents the business itself – an unrivaled fusion of quality, environmental consciousness and satisfaction. “It’s an unpretentious environment for locals to gather, where people can catch up and ask questions about wines,” Bacciocco shares. LJ Crafted Wines is kid-friendly, environment-friendly, and just plain old downright friendly to everyone else.

The product entices customers and the experience transforms them into family. “We’ve had fantastic support from the community,” Jooste mentions, “we can only thank them!”