Plenty of people dream of starting a winery, but few get to see it become as grand a reality as the pair behind Jordan Vineyard & Winery. Born out of a passion for French winemaking and uncompromising hospitality, the result is one of the United States’ most esteemed wineries.

Despite the roaring success of Jordan Vineyard & Winery, it remains, at its heart, a family-run affair. While the original owners Sally and Tom have passed the reins over to their son, it remains an inviting place to visit.

Genuine warmth and hospitality, paired with industry-leading wines, is already a winning combination. Add in unique wine tasting experiences and the ultra-romantic chateaux, and you have a completely magical proposition.

In a time where wineries have increasingly become slick corporate outfits with encyclopedic wine selections, Jordan Winery is not afraid to buck the trend. Focusing on good old-fashioned family hospitality and offering up a small but sumptuous selection of wines, their approach is certainly working for them.

History of Jordan Vineyard & Winery

Like many great ideas, Jordan Vineyard & Winery began with a passion. In the case of couple Sally and Tom Jordan, this was a passion not just for great wine, but also for delicious food and great hospitality.

This passion was inspired by the ethos of many European wineries, where the art of viticulture is one handed down through generations and where the most important events are family gatherings. They wanted to create a winery and chateau, where hospitality was not just a service offered - but a way of life.

In particular, Sally and Tom had long declared themselves ‘francophiles’ - in love with the French approach to life and, of course, wine. They dreamt of replicating the feel and taste of French wine country on American soil.

Their dream would begin to come to fruition in 1972, when a parcel of land was selected in beautiful Sonoma County. Enlisting the help of master vintners John Jordan and Rob Davis, they began their venture. The very first Jordan Winery & Vineyard wine was released in 1976.

Shortly thereafter, the Chateau - which served as guest accommodations - was completed. It also served as a base for Jordan Winery’s in-depth wine experiences; a unique offering at the time, when most wineries simply offered stand-up tasting rooms.

As predicted, Jordan Winery’s commitment to providing exceptional hospitality and exceptional wine proved fruitful. The fact that their Cabernet was named “the best Cabernet in America” in 1979 certainly didn’t hurt either!

Over time, the estate’s reputation only grew as one of the finest producers in Sonoma and the United States. Although they remained true to their values, the Jordan family was not afraid to try modern approaches and have always looked for ways to bring the winery to new heights.

In 2005, Jordan Winery ushered in a new era when Sally and Tom’s son, John, took the reins. While honoring the winery’s time-tested approach, he also brought fresh ideas including a commitment to environmental sustainability. One thing is for sure - Jordan Winery is in very safe hands.

What to Expect

Although Jordan Winery is one of the most respected vineyards in Sonoma today, it has never forgotten its humble origins. A true love of wine (especially European-style wine) and a desire to bring it to the American market was why the winery began; and why it continues to this day.

The result is a winery with a true sense of authenticity and warmth. This permeates through the entire experience, and Jordan Winery is proud to still be a family-owned and operated business - albeit one with almost 100 staff members as well!

Adding to the sense of warmth is the romanticism throughout the property. True to the European approach, the grand chateau is covered in vines and wouldn’t look out place down a winding laneway in Aix en Provence. However, proud American touches like an unfurling flag and local vegetation remind you of your true location.

The winery was one of the first to offer wine tasting “experiences”, rather than your classic tasting - and they remain true to this. Tastings are by appointment and are far more than your average “sip and see” approach. Each is a guided journey through the wine list, and many feature pairings with delectable food as well.

Part of the reason why Jordan Winery’s red and whites pair so well with food is the French-inspired approach. There’s less of an emphasis on tannins and alcohol, and more on refined and understated complexity. The result is wine that is elegant and perfect for enjoying with your favorite meal.

While many wineries offer a stable of grape varieties, Jordan Winery bucks the trend. They have always had just two - a Bordeaux-inspired Cabernet, and a Burgundy-inspired Chardonnay. By keeping the overall number of varieties low, Jordan Winery has perfected the art of these two wines.

Nonetheless, they are never content to rest on their laurels (despite how impressive those laurels are). They are always striving for the new variety to be better than the last - so it’s always exciting to see what they’ll do next.

Awards and Accolades

Since scooping up the ultra-coveted 1979 “Best Cabernet in America” from New York’s Beverage Tasting Institute, the accolades have continued to flow in for Jordan Winery & Vineyard.

Recently, the winery came in second place on Wine & Spirits list of the top 30 wineries served in American restaurants. The same poll saw their Chardonnay ranked 9th in the country, and their Cabernet clock in at third place.

Wines to Try

The Cabernet and Chardonnay, of course! After all - it’s how Jordan Winery made its name, and it’s likely to be some of the best you’ve ever tried.

The Bordeaux-inspired Cabernet is a masterclass in elegant reds, with hints of cherry, pomegranate and cranberry. Matured in French oak, it’s a silky red that is perfectly balanced and complex without being overpowering. While it can be enjoyed now, it will cellar wonderfully for 5 - 15 years.

The Chardonnay is a similar work of art, inspired by the French region of Burgundy. It’s a bold and crisp white, with green fruits and citrus along with a refreshing touch of acidity. This is an approachable wine that can be enjoyed right away or cellared for a couple of years.