Judd’s Hill | Wine Country This Week Magazine Wineries, Wine Tasting, Wine Tasting Maps Fri, 07/08/2005Judd’s HillThe Finkelsteins make fine music to go along with their fine wines. The family band is comprised of Bunnie on tuba, Judd on ukelele, Art on piano and Holly on tambourine.By Charles NeaveIt would probably not be an exaggeration to say that almost everyone who has an affection for wine and who visits the Wine Country has at one time or another wondered what it would be like to have their own winery, to have their own name on the label, to have their own barrel (or barrels) of Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir or Merlot quietly ageing in a cellar. It is the most natural daydream in the world but unless you have millions of dollars you are willing to put at risk (and with no hope for a return on your considerable investment anywhere in the foreseeable future) and are in a position to be able to drop everything at a moment’s notice to fly out to your winery when a crisis develops or the harvest begins, then what you have is just that, a dream. Unless you know about a business called Napa Valley Custom MicroCrush.Actually you probably don’t know the name, at least not yet, but odds are that if you are a true wine aficionado you already know the name Whitehall Lane and Judd’s Hill, both the work of the Finkelstein family: Art and Bunnie and Judd and Holly. Their first foray into the Napa Valley wine business was Whitehall Lane Winery, which they have since sold. Today they concentrate their considerable talents, energies and artistic sensibilities on two projects, the first being Judd’s Hill up in the rugged hills of the beautiful Conn Valley to the east of the town of St. Helena. Their second undertaking, which they began in 1992, is Napa Valley Custom MicroCrush.The way they run their custom crush operation depends on who needs the custom crushing. The majority of their customers are vineyard owners and grape growers who bring their grapes to the winery at Judd’s Hill, where they are turned into wine. Art and his son Judd handle the winemaking itself, from start to finish. The second group of clients and a rapidly growing segment of their business is comprised of individuals who have that dream of having their own wine or winery. The beauty here is that you need only $2,500 (plus the cost of the grapes, probably another couple of thousand) to get started, not millions. For that sum you receive – beyond personal gratification and significant bragging rights at your next dinner party or wine club get-together – one barrel of wine.Here is the way the math works out. A four foot by four foot tub of grapes equals one barrel of wine. One barrel of wine equals 24 cases of wine, or 288 bottles. You can even design your own label, as many of their customers do. Want your name, a picture of your basset hound Cheap Air Jordan Shoes Online
or your corporate logo on the label? No problem. The Finkelsteins do all of the bookkeeping, government compliance work, bottling and they even source the grapes (“Cabernet is far-and-away the most popular varietal we deal with, after all, this is Napa,” said Art. “But we have done Merlot, Zinfandel, some Pinot Noir, even Dolcetto and Nebbiolo.”). It is that simple, and you don’t even have to live in the Napa Valley to realize your dream.”We have people from New York, Massachusetts, Louisiana, from all over making their wine here at Judd’s Hill,” Bunnie said. “Many people make special trips to visit their wine at ‘their’ winery, and often they bring friends with them. Some even have put pictures of their barrel on holiday cards.”Friends often play an even greater role, as when two or three families will join forces economically to make a barrel or two of wine. Divided three ways the investment is within almost everyone’s reach, and each party still gets a very respectable eight cases of wine at a very affordable price
per bottle. Later this year they will finish their new 7,500-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility close to Napa (which will also have a more formal ‘by appointment’ tasting room). For now, should you want to see just how good the Finkelsteins winemakers really are (the answer: pretty darned exceptional, as most people already know) you need to give them a call and make an appointment to go tasting. Over the last quarter of a century Art Finkelstein (and more recently son Judd) have developed a strong and constant following for their rich and complex Cabernet Sauvignon, though the other varietals they produce have also inspired a legion of fans. And that is the beauty of it all, and what Mens AIR JORDANS 4 makes Napa Valley Custom MicroCrush a reality, that no matter what the varietal you can be assured that the result will be something you will be proud to share with family and friends no matter what the label looks like or whose name is on it, as long as Art and Judd have crafted what is in the bottle. Judd’s Hill is located in Conn Valley not too far from the town of St. Helena. They are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. but strictly by appointment only. For more information call 1-866 GET-JUDD (438-5833) or on the website at . The Napa Valley Custom MicroCrush website is nvcmc.com.
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