J. Lohr Pioneering Sustainability
Mar 04, 2020
For two generations, the Lohr family and their winegrowing team have been leaders on California’s Central Coast. With first plantings in Monterey in 1972 and then in Paso Robles in 1986, the J. Lohr team has helped write the book on winegrowing there, in the process establishing the regions’ world-class reputations.
An important part of their success over the decades has been the J. Lohr team’s conscientious, “farming for the future” attitude. 2020 marks ten years since J. Lohr became one of the very first vineyards and wineries to earn the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing distinction from the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA). J. Lohr’s commitment to protecting the environment has been a core value of the family-run winery since the beginning.
J. Lohr believes there is a direct relationship between conservation and wine quality. Encompassing four decades, the J. Lohr team has worked hard to be stewards of the land. Through constant experimentation and investment, they have been in the forefront of new “green” technologies and techniques.
Beginning in 2005, J. Lohr took a leading role in formalizing the ground rules to help vineyards and wineries establish attainable, ongoing sustainability goals. CSWA certification is achieved by meeting a set of 191 best practices and 58 prerequisites from the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices Self-Assessment Workbook; an independent, third-party auditor painstakingly verifies each applicants compliance with the sustainability rules in a variety of areas.
J. Lohr has been awarded the certification every year since the program’s inception. The certification covers all of J. Lohr’s estate vineyards, as well as the company’s wineries in Paso Robles, San Jose, and Greenfield.
Second generation co-owner and company CEO Steve Lohr is the company’s lead advocate on the subject, given his role as a board member and past chairman at CSWA; Steve also oversees J. Lohr’s internal 16-person sustainability committee.
J. Lohr’s sustainability approach spans multiple disciplines; it can be seen in many different energy and resource-preserving projects in the company’s vineyards, cellars, and offices.
ENERGY AND CLEAN AIR
Unveiled in 2008, J. Lohr’s photovoltaic solar tracking array in Paso Robles is the largest of any winery in North America; it currently supplies more than two-thirds of the company’s electrical needs there. J. Lohr’s new 921-Kilowatt solar installation in Greenfield provides almost 100% of their Monterey County winery’s energy needs. The use of solar power over fossil fuels, increased use of biomass and cover crops, moving to an all-electric forklift fleet, and replacing older tractors with cleaner-burning models are all examples of J. Lohr’s comprehensive approach to energy-efficiency and carbon emissions mitigation.
J. Lohr has been instrumental in several groundbreaking water-saving initiatives: they were early adopters of the UC Davis start-up Tule Technologies sensors to determine efficient irrigation patterns; they were among the first on the Central Coast to explore Lyve Systems bio technologies to treat and recycle wastewater. On the winery side in Paso Robles, J. Lohr has dramatically reduced the amount of water used throughout the winemaking process to far below industry norms.
J. Lohr identifies ecosystems and wildlife habitats, leaving them as undisturbed as possible. They created a pollinator garden to attract more honeybees and beneficial insects. It is common practice for J. Lohr to preserve all oak trees in new vineyard developments. Indeed, the iconic J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon is named for an original stand of trees close-by the vineyard rows that are still visible today. Songbird boxes are installed to attract native species. J. Lohr carried out extensive habitat and riverbank restoration along the Napa River that borders their Carol’s Vineyard in St. Helena.
These are just a few of the projects that illustrate J. Lohr’s commitment to “green” technologies and their decades-long, industry-leading, integrated approach to sustainability. J. Lohr’s dedication to sustainability and the environment is informed by founder Jerry Lohr’s seven decades of family farming experience. The brand was an early adopter of sustainable practices and continues to help codify industry-wide methods and certifications. Today, sustainability is embraced by a passionate second generation of the Lohr family, dedicated to preserving this important aspect of the company’s legacy. Their dedication to environmental stewardship mirrors their passion for quality; It can be tasted in every bottle that carries a J. Lohr label.
NEW LOOK FOR J. LOHR VINEYARD SERIES
J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines is excited to unveil new packaging for its J. Lohr Vineyard Series tier. The upscale new label reflects the importance of these wines in the J. Lohr portfolio, while also clearly differentiating them from the popular J. Lohr Estates wines.
To convey the elevated positioning of the super-premium J. Lohr Vineyard Series wines, the new pressure-sensitive labels feature a rich olive label for white wines and plum label for red wines. The fanciful name in elegantly stylized gold script and an easy-to-read appellation designation in white are all balanced with the winery’s iconic J. Lohr logo. This new packaging began appearing in markets last August with the release of the 2017 J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon.
“While our J. Lohr Estates wines have earned their reputation as benchmark expressions of Monterey County and Paso Robles winemaking, our J. Lohr Vineyard Series wines focus on carefully delineated, small vineyard blocks that we have farmed for decades,” comments Jerry Lohr. “Before we embarked on this label redesign, we sought input from trade partners, sommeliers, and customers. They gave us clear feedback that our new packaging should enhance the exceptional quality of what’s in the bottle, and that it should be easy to differentiate the J. Lohr Vineyard Series from J. Lohr Estates. There is a timeless elegance to the new design that achieves both goals.”
J. Lohr launched the Vineyard Series tier in 1998 with the first Arroyo Vista Chardonnay and Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon. The current Vineyard Series line up also includes the Carol’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Tower Road Petite Sirah, October Night Chardonnay, Fog’s Reach Pinot Noir, and the Late Harvest White Riesling. Their decades-long experience in their chosen appellations of Monterey County’s Arroyo Seco, Paso Robles, and the Napa Valley leads to a true artisan partnership between vineyard and production teams. The limited-release Vineyard Series wines match special sites to J. Lohr winemakers’ specific stylistic visions.
“Smoky and lean, this is built like a ripe Bordeaux, with a lovely tension between its oak frame and its dark purple fruit flavors. Decant it to let those flavors to meld before pouring for steak.” – 90pts Wine & Spirits, Year’s Best US Cabernets & Blends
Enticing floral aromas of gardenia, orange blossom, white peach, vanilla, and baking spices, with rich texture and long sweet oak finish. A balanced and complex wine, this Chardonnay offers a full spectrum of varietal flavors.
The 2018 J. Lohr Fog’s Reach Pinot Noir expresses the varietal terroir of the Arroyo Seco region. This wine has a bright strawberry and blue sage on the nose with an abundance of red cherry and spice on the palate and finish.
“Plump aromas of pineapple jam, plumeria and toast show on the ripe nose of this bottling. The palate, crisp at first, is broadened out by a pineapple cream flavor. A chalky grip leads to a toasty finish.” – 90pts Wine Enthusiast
“Aromas of black cherry, vanilla, cola and loamy minerality lead into a mouthcoating palate of boysenberry, milk chocolate and oaky coconut flavors. This is a no-holds-barred Pinot Noir, with a power that would be suitable for grilled rib eye.” – 92pts Wine Enthusiast
Lightly toasted pastry aromas with rich blackberry and ollalieberry fruit notes. An inviting bouquet of toasted pastry frames the dark fruit characters of blackberry and olallieberry on the palate. Our gentle approach to winemaking delivers a rich and dense tannin structure that doesn’t disappoint.
“A hint of high ripeness adds to the intrigue on offer here, and, with the rest of this full-bodied, keenly focused wine clearly on target, there is a lot to like from first sniff to its polished finish. Along the way, its cassis-like fruit tones are aided and abetted by a whiff of dark chocolate and hints of root beer, and its near supple, moderately tannic structure adds just enough grip to give it drinkability over the next five years or so. It may not be a long-term cellaring candidate, but it is an expressive, very carefully crafted wine that is certain to please all Cabernet lovers save for the few who equate tongue-curing tannins with varietal success.” – 92pts Connoisseurs’ Guide