While running Palisades Market in Calistoga in the early 1990s, Joel Gott noticed a growing need for quality, value wines. Having worked at Kenwood Winery in Sonoma County, and with a family history in the business, Joel felt sure he could fill this void in the marketplace. In 1996, Joel purchased a few tons of Zinfandel and with the help of Sarah, his girlfriend and winemaker at Joseph Phelps, Joel produced his first vintage of Dillian Ranch Amador County Zinfandel. The wine received praise from Robert Parker and Wine Spectator, which was all the encouragement Joel needed to produce additional varietals. A Sauvignon Blanc followed in 1998, and the year after he and Sarah produced California appellation Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. Shopping the entire state for the best fruit, they created a wine shaped by various regions instead of a single estate. This style and commitment to quality wines blended from hand-selected vineyards helped guide the direction of Joel Gott Wines. In 2003 Alisa Jacobson was hired as the assistant winemaker, and the following year Sarah left her position as winemaker at Quintessa to focus on a growing family and winemaking at Joel Gott Wines. Creating quality, balanced wines continued to be important, and in 2007 the California Zinfandel won a Food & Wine American Wine Award. Joel Gott Wines continues to have a cult like following and consistently receive accolades for delivering a great product at a value price point.
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