Jim doles out a barrel sample of our 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon on a JUSTIN Barrels and Bottles Tour
“Jim gave a really detailed tour. Think of the cave as an upside down pool!” –Anita P, Foursquare
This recent posting to our Foursquaretips inspired us to chat with JUSTIN Winery’s resident Certified Sommelier and Tour Guide, Jim Gerakaris. Jim is famous for translating his deep knowledge of wine to simple terms for our guests at the tours and tastings he conducts. The Barrels and Bottles tour is a special tour, in which guests get to sample wine straight from the barrels in the JUSTIN caves. This tour is given daily at 3:30 Monday-Friday, and at 11:30 and 3:30 on Saturday and Sunday.
“On our tours, I have many people ask about how our caves were constructed, especially what material the walls of our caves are made out of. The best analogy is to use the swimming pool visual.
For most swimming pools, you dig a big hole in the shape you want, into the ground and spray concrete over reinforcing material like mesh or bars to form the permanent structure to hold the water.
For our caves, we had a contractor bore tunnels into the hillside like a coal mine, then lined the walls with a reinforcing material and sprayed 4-5 feet of gunnite on top. Gunnite is a type of concrete that is sprayed through a hose, which makes the concrete stronger and more waterproof than a traditional setting process. This method of cave creation provides a safe, cool structure, with very stable temperatures in which to store our wines during their elevage (the time they spend in barrels).
The deepest part of the cave is our ISOSCELES Library; it is 120 to 150 feet (about the height of a ten story building) below the surface of the hillside behind the ISOSCELES building. This makes it a great location to store our own vertical (consecutive vintages) collection of ISOSCELES vintages for future reference and enjoyment.”
After tasting a variety of barrel samples, tour guests are then treated to a library wine handpicked by the tour guide. The library wine is always a surprise; it is up to the individual tour guide to choose what will be poured that day! Whatever library wine is chosen will be available for purchase following the tour.
Jim conducts a tasting of 2003 ISOSCELES on the JUSTIN Winery Barrels and Bottles Tour
Jim joined the JUSTIN team in April of 2008. He brings a variety of experiences to us from his various travels while in domestic and international equipment sales in the semiconductor manufacturing industry. Jim is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. He enjoys cooking and matching the wines and cuisines from various food traditions. He is also an avid bicyclist who is known to commute to JUSTIN from his home in Paso Robles when he can.
The tasting room is open daily from 10:00am to 6:00pm. Barrels and Bottles Tours are available at 3:30 on weekdays, and 11:30 and 3:30 on weekends. Please call 805-238-6932 ex. 3224 to reserve. Visit our website for more information.