Glassmaker (Jonathan Walton)
Jonathan got his start in wine in the tasting rooms of the Salinas Valley “as a bored toddler eating oyster crackers off the floor while his father and friends casually imbibed glass after glass of the local red,” he recalls. From organic foods and fine cheese to the wines of France, Spain, and Italy, his curiosity in quality products led him to the soils of the vineyards of Sonoma, Marlborough, Lodi, CoCo, and Monterey. After a bit of blood and sweat at Brooklyn Oenology, Jonathan figured “it was time to put my money where my mouth was… and Glassmaker Wine Company is what happened!”
Founded in 2015 as a tribute to his mother’s maiden name and Jon’s family farming tradition (although that was more grains than grapes), the boutique winery allows Jon and his girlfriend Emily, who co-designs the labels, helps Jonathan around the winery and “generally helps out with farming when I beg her,” to reimagine California. “I’ve done this before; it might be the reason I keep living here. The geography and the communities of this large end of the continent are broad and strange, malleable and diverse. I loved wine when I left this place, and returning four years ago to farm the land has given me a new way to interpret these places' past and future. I am thankful yet aware that there is much more to feel, understand and imagine in this golden state.”
Jon himself farms a small plot in Healdsburg – the McGaraugh Vineyard in Alexander Valley, planted with Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. The rest of the wines come from a fluctuating selection of vineyards, as Jon is on the quest of trying to find the “terroirs that speak to me the loudest!” Their respectful management is a matter of course and includes organic or biodynamic practices and dry farming. This minimal input approach obviously extends to the cellar: the wines are all spontaneously fermented (both primary and malolactic fermentation), aged in old oak barrels, unfined and unfiltered, and made without any addition save for a tiny bit of sulphur.