Welcome to J&J Winery - where vision, faith, and hard work blend together in harmony. Melody, Karen, Jim, and Jeff invite you to take a journey to this enchanted refuge. We also welcome you to take a moment and travel through the chronicles of J&J winery.
In the beginning...
In the beginning, Jim said to Jeff, "Let us plant grapes and make wine." And they did, and it was good!
The above is the true condensed version of the genesis of J&J winery. The complete, unabridged version follows: In early 2004, neighbors Jim and Jeff were enjoying a glass of merlot in the beautiful Abington countryside. Jim commented that they should both grow grapes on the rolling hillsides of their properties and make wine. Both men like to garden (and both men like to drink wine) but neither had ever grown grapes. Together they planted several grape plants at both of their farms. Unfortunately they didn't do their homework as it related to soil needs, and their young plants struggled. They sought the advice of the up-and-coming vintner, Tom Christa (who at the young age of 74 had been growing grapes more years than Jeff had been alive), and with his help and guidance, and much careful pruning, the grape vines produced their first crop in 2008.
Difficult as it is for A-type personalities, grape vines take several years to mature before they can safely produce their first crop. Jim and Jeff watched their plants and added more plants year after year, and decided to learn to make wine in the interim.
They started reading every wine making book they could get their hands on, and they learned to make wine from kits. Jack Hart taught them to make wine from grapes, and then Jack sent them to northeast Pennsylvania to buy 2,000 pounds of grapes. Immediately Jeff and Jim were hooked.
Jeff is currently enrolled in the third of five on-line classes at UC-Davis (the Wine University), and he will soon have his vintner license.
The First Miracle
No, no one at J&J Winery turned water into wine. Jeff did, however, experience a miracle when he lived to tell the story of his blackberry wine staining the sand-colored grout on their kitchen floor.
The miracle occurred when Melody did not kill Jeff after his first attempt to make blackberry wine! Jeff quickly learned the significance of the wine-making term, "headspace." When the black, fermenting wine bubbled out of the kettle, over the counter, and onto the kitchen floor - Jeff learned to respect the power of a vigorous fermentation (and he once again was reminded of what a loving, forgiving wife he had).
Not What I Meant
In November 2007, Jim casually mentioned to Jeff they should think about creating a winery. Jim's vision of the winery was a cozy, intimate winery in a small section of his barn. However, as Jim watched the grape plants begin to thrive - he started to dream big. His vision grew to include a winery along the stream between their two farms.
But how does an A-type personality start a winery? Jeff and Melody were up to challenge - and the research began in earnest. Melody and Jeff headed to a winery trade show to learn from the experts. Jeff's 5-year-plan included a few acres near Centerville, but Melody had a different vision. Not folks to put off until tomorrow, right away they solicited the help of the experts.
It was the Vintage Winery Consultants, Dr. Richard Vine and Ellie Butz, who answered the call. Richard insisted that they explore the real estate near Centerville and Richmond - and the search was on.
Downtown Richmond? No. Downtown Centerville? No. Near the antique district! No.
Several months and many real estate tours went by with little progress. Such beautiful areas! However, the properties were too small, or too remote, or just too run down. That perfect location - that little slice of Heaven that they all could feel but just hadn't seen... it was elusive.
It was elusive until that Fall day in September 2008 - a crisp breeze blowing the potpourri of red, yellow, and burnt orange leaves from the ancient trees... On a whim, the realtor suggested they take a look at 3415 National Road West. From the road they could only see a colorful tree line and a small gravel lane. As they slowly made their way down the winding lane, the farmstead and water neared - and Melody's eyes spoke volumes. They found their Eden! After much construction, concrete, and paperwork - Jeff, Melody, Jim, and Karen are proud to welcome you to J&J Winery.
Please visit us soon, and enjoy a slice of our Heaven that is located in America's Heartland - Richmond, Indiana.