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Gregory James Wines was founded in 2013 by James “Jim” Demuth and Gregory “Greg” Adams. Both with great passion for their craft yet very different introductions to the world of wine. Jim, who was born and raised in a small town in Ohio, where he still lives today, was introduced to what wine can truly be on a trip to Sonoma County in 2012. It was on this trip that he discovered an old vine Zinfandel that changed the way he thought about wine forever and inspired him start his own wineries. Greg on the other hand is a fourth generation Californian who moved to Sonoma County in 1977. Since that time, he has been developing and managing vineyards mostly in the cooler climate west county of Sonoma County. The list of wineries and growers that he has worked with and continues to work with is long and impressive.
The two met while working on a vineyard project in the Dry Creek Valley in 2012. Jim on a tractor digging a soil pit and Greg inspecting the soil to determine what varietal and clones to plant on the site. During this project the two found a shared passion for farming and great wines with a true sense of place. Soon after their first meeting they came together to create Gregory James Wines with the mission to make wine from the best vineyards in Sonoma County. Greg had an affinity for cooler climate grapes, while Jim loved the lifestyle and unique character of these wines.
With Greg focusing upon the vineyards and nurturing the grapes throughout the growing season Gregory James needed a winemaker. Through Jim’s other winery project, CAST Wines, he met Mikael “Mike” Gulyash, who had a long winemaking history. His diverse experience was what Jim and Greg were looking for and he was soon invited to join the team as winemaker. Over the next 7 vintages he crafted age worthy wines of great balance.
Soon after the first harvest of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in 2013, Jim began searching for an old vine Zinfandel vineyard to source fruit from. He wanted to make a wine that reminded him of his ah ha moment, a wine with character, balance and a sense of place. Fortunately, he had made friends with Joe Ramazzotti who was able to introduce Jim to two growers who had exactly what he was looking for. Today, Gregory James Wines produces two old vine Zinfandels from the Dry Creek Valley.
As time went on, it became clear to Jim that there needed to be a Cabernet Sauvignon in the Gregory James portfolio. Knowing that he wanted to have the fruit come from the best Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards he reached out to his longtime friend, Mauricio Soto, a vineyard manager in the Napa Valley. From this connection, came the opportunity to source Cabernet Sauvignon from Beckstoffer’s, Georges III vineyard, which is one of the most sought-after vineyards in the Napa Valley. The 2018 vintage marks the first harvest for Gregory James from these famed vineyards. Mauricio was brought on to manager the Cabernet Sauvignon vines and to consult on the winemaking process.
During the 2020 vintage Chris Russi, joined the Gregory James team as winemaker. He has been making wine and tending vineyards for 25 years in Sonoma County. In that time, he has successfully worked with almost every varietal grown in Sonoma County making him a great fit for Gregory James.
Emerging from the challenges of 2020 the team at Gregory James is excited about the future and further connecting with their fans. To assist with this, Claire Smith, was appointed Director of Marketing and Guest Service. With her experience in hospitality and direct to consumer sales we are confident that we will be able to share the story and wines with more guests.