Gordon Enters The Winery

CALISTOGA, CA.- - Jeff Gordon will market a series of upscale wines under a label bearing his own name. Gordon said the first wine, a 2004 Carneros Chardonnay, will be available in October 2005. Two red wines, a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and a Napa Valley Merlot, also of the 2004 vintage, will be released after proper aging, in January 2007. From that point, Chardonnay will be released each October and the Cabernet and Merlot each January.

The wines, labeled 'Jeff Gordon Collection,' are being made by Joe Briggs, owner of Briggs & Sons Winemaking Co., of Calistoga at the north end of the world-famous Napa Valley. "These wines are not intended to be a novelty item, and they are not connected whatsoever with souvenir sales," said Gordon. "Instead, they're being sold in the ‘fine wine' market such as restaurants and upscale wine shops. Production is very limited, and this is one of the reasons I chose Joe Briggs to make the wines. All of Joe's August Briggs brand of wines are consistently very good because Joe limits his production in pursuit of the highest quality."

Initially, the wines will be sold in only a few states. Fine Wine Trading Company of Charlotte, North Carolina, has been chosen as the exclusive broker. "Jeff has shown himself to be a champion in all his endeavors and I'm happy to be making his wines," said Briggs. "Jeff likes quality and so do we here at August Briggs. I like to make a lot of different wines and in small quantities so I can keep the quality high. I choose grapes from areas where the variety is best grown. I want the fruit and the essence of each vineyard to stand out, to define the wine."

In later vintages, Gordon is considering adding other varietals, possibly a Pinot Noir, Syrah and Petite Syrah. Gordon began his wine experience 11 years ago and his enthusiasm with fine wine has continued to grow. Now he wants to play a bigger part. "We're going to have a great wine in a great looking package," Gordon said.

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