J. Lohr Estates: A Family Success Story, Thirty Vintages and Counting

Mar 01, 2018

How do you define success? Rankings? Longevity? Quality? By any measure, the J. Lohr Estates roster of wines is one of the industry’s true success stories.

Jerry Lohr and wife

For more than thirty years, the wines of J. Lohr Estates have been consumer favorites. Carefully crafted in a food-friendly, balanced style, they flavorfully reflect their Monterey and Paso Robles origins. The wines of the J. Lohr Estates tier boast a remarkable decades-long track record that define the category for quality, value, and a distinct sense of place.

Through two generations, the Lohr family and their winegrowing team have been leaders on the Central Coast. With Jerry Lohr’s first plantings in Monterey in 1972 and then in Paso Robles in 1987, they helped write the book on sustainable winegrowing for the entire region.  Many key J. Lohr associates have been with the company for decades:  President, COO, and Director of Winemaking Jeff Meier joined J. Lohr in 1983. Monterey Vineyards Manager Agapito Vazquez and Paso Robles Vineyards Manager Steve Carter have been with J. Lohr since 1989. Their
long tenure and expertise are key factors in creating one of the industry’s most consistent brand portfolios. J. Lohr Estates, J. Lohr Vineyard Series, J. Lohr Cuvée Series, and J. Lohr Signature Cabernet Sauvignon all reflect not only their “place” but also the actual people behind the wines.

By harvesting and blending multiple vineyard sites, J. Lohr’s Estates wines showcase the best of each vintage. The ability to draw upon and blend from their various
pioneering properties in Monterey and Paso Robles is key to J. Lohr Estates’ long track record of exceptional quality
. The J. Lohr cool-climate vineyards in Monterey (Riverstone Chardonnay, Flume Crossing Sauvignon Blanc, Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir, Bay Mist White Riesling, Wildflower Valdiguié) and warmer ranches in Paso Robles (Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon, Los Osos Merlot, South Ridge Syrah) provide the winemakers an artistic palette of possibilities. Constant investment and cutting-edge improvement in the vineyards and cellars maintain a reputation for quality that consumers have trusted for years.

At the heart of the J. Lohr Estates success story is the “Core Four”:  Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon, Riverstone Chardonnay, Los Osos Merlot, and Falcon’s Perch Pinot Noir. These four wine are consumer favorites and perennial category leaders. Seven Oaks is the country’s #1 selling AVA-labeled Cabernet Sauvignon above $12. J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay is America’s #1 selling AVA-labeled Chardonnay between $10 to $15. Los Osos is one of America’s top five selling AVA-labeled Merlots, in the $11 to $15 category.* J. Lohr Estates is famous for its “go-to” quality, vintage after vintage. Add in beautifully refreshed new packaging and attentive sales support and you have an enduring success story with many flavorful chapters yet to be written.

2018 SF Chronicle Competition: Double Gold Scores

2016 J. Lohr Estates
Riverstone Chardonnay

2016 J. Lohr Estates Flume
Crossing Sauvignon Blanc

2014 J. Lohr
Cuvée PAU


March is National Women’s History Month. And while a commitment to diversity is standard business at J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines each and every day, the month of March allows for this influential brand to really highlight what they are doing to encourage the advancement of women internally and throughout industry.

As Cynthia Lohr explains, “In the vineyards, in the cellars, in the offices, in the visitor centers, at J. Lohr talent and inspiration know no gender. At J. Lohr, we celebrate and value gender diversity across all levels of our family-owned company.”

Efforts are spearheaded under the #JLohrWomen social media effort, which was initiated in February 2017. All are invited to join the conversation at #JLohrWomen and can get additional details by visiting jlohr.com/JLohrWomen. Click through our slideshow to see and read about all of J. Lohr’s fabulous women!

1. Cynthia Lohr
Co-Owner & Trade/Brand Advocate

Cynthia’s efforts to champion the family business led to J. Lohr being recognized as the 2010 “American Winery of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and the notable partnership with the National Breast Cancer Foundation to support mammograms for women in need through sales of wines from Carol’s Vineyard. A deeply personal story to the Lohr family, this national campaign has helped fund more than 5,000 mammograms for women who would otherwise be unable to afford them, and raise awareness for this important cause. Beginning in 2016, Cynthia transitioned to the role of trade and brand advocate for J. Lohr. In this important capacity, Cynthia leverages her leadership position among industry groups to support J. Lohr among trade and consumer audiences.

2. Kristen Barnhisel

Kristen works alongside President/ COO and longtime Director of Winemaking Jeff Meier to guide J. Lohr’s white wine program. “We are a winery that values leadership, experience and a willingness to experiment,” says Jeff. “From her work in multiple countries and appellations to her leadership role as a vice president at the American Society for Enology and Viticulture, Kristen has shown a remarkable commitment to research and experimentation. She’s also a phenomenal winemaker.”

“I love the challenge of making serious white wines that reflect their vineyard roots,” says Kristen. “It is incredibly rewarding to take an inherently transparent grape and to find that perfect place where fruit avors, aromatics, alcohol, acidity, texture and palate length all come into perfect balance.

3. Rhonda Motil
VP Marketing

Rhonda guides J. Lohr’s marketing, public relations and branding initiatives, and direct-to-consumer strategy. Building on her extensive background in technology, she has also played a key role in establishing J. Lohr at the forefront of wine industry internet marketing and new media strategy.

4. Rita Dilello
VP National Accounts

Rita guides a world-class restaurant program that includes more than 200 elite accounts throughout the United States. With 17 years of focused wine industry sales experience, she is known for building collaborative, successful relationships with her accounts.

5. Cindy Paup
VP Sales Services/Direct Sales

Cindy joined the team in 1988. She acts as a bridge between J. Lohr’s world-class sales team and it’s leading-edge, in-house marketing department, working to help guide strategic planning, build brand awareness and implement key trade and consumer initiatives.

6. Shaune Zeleny
VP International Sales

Over the past two decades, Shaune has risen swiftly through the ranks of the sales division. During her dedicated tenure, she has established lasting relationships with a global network of distributors, while building recognition and respect for J. Lohr’s brands, nationally and internationally.

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