PlumpJack Winery

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PlumpJack Winery
Plumpjack logo.png
Location Oakville, California, USA
Appellation Oakville AVA
Founded 1997
First vintage 1995
Key people Gavin Newsom, Founder; Gordon Getty, Founder; John Conover, General Manager; Aaron Miller, Winemaker; Nils Venge, Consulting Winemaker
Parent company PlumpJack Group
Cases/yr 12,500[1]
Known for Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
Varietals Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, Sauvignon blanc, Sangiovese
Distribution United States
Tasting open to public

PlumpJack Winery is a boutique winery in Oakville, California specializing in premium Cabernet Sauvignon wines. PlumpJack was the first winery in Napa Valley to use screwcaps as a wine closure on fine wines.[2] The winery is one of several businesses operated by the PlumpJack Group. The name of the company is inspired by "the roguish spirit of Shakespeare's Sir John Falstaff (Henry IV), dubbed Plump Jack by Queen Elizabeth."[3]


The PlumpJack Group was founded in 1992 by Gavin Newsom, a San Francisco entrepreneur who was elected that city's mayor in 2003, and Gordon Getty, a San Francisco composer and philanthropist, when they opened a wine store called PlumpJack Wines in the Fillmore neighborhood of San Francisco . Over the next five years, the business expanded to include a boutique hotel and three restaurants. PlumpJack Winery was founded in 1997 when the PlumpJack Group acquired a century-old 53 acres (21 ha) vineyard in Napa Valley on Oakville Cross Road. The winery facility and tasting room were designed by Leavitt-Weaver, the same design firm that the PlumpJack Group used for the designs of its restaurants and hotels.[3]

PlumpJack Winery was the first Napa Valley winery to use the Stelvin screwcap closure on its most expensive bottling. John Conover, General Manager of the winery, announced at the Napa Valley Wine Auction that half (150 cases) of PlumpJack's 1997 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon would be available upon release with a Stelvin screwcap closure, and that those bottles would cost $10 USD more than those in the 150 cases closed with cork.[4] At $135 per bottle, many in the wine industry were skeptical of the decision.[5] As part of the screwcap program at PlumpJack, bottles with the screwcap closure from each vintage since 1997 have been analyzed by researchers in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California at Davis. Bottles using both closure technologies from the 1997 vintage will undergo a more extensive chemical analysis in 2010.[2]


Wine vats at PlumpJack Winery

PlumpJack Winery produces primarily super premium Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay varietal wines from Napa Valley grapes, with smaller amounts of varietal Merlot, Syrah, Sauvignon blanc, and Sangiovese. The 2001 PlumpJack Cabernet Sauvignon was named 2004 Wine of the Year by Wine Enthusiast magazine.[6] The 2002 and 2004 vintages of the PlumpJack Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve both received "Extraordinary" wine ratings of 96-100 points from wine critic Robert Parker.[7]

As of the 2004 vintage, PlumpJack Winery continues to offer its top wines in bottles with both screwcap and cork closures. Many are sold by the winery as two-packs with one cork finish bottle and one screwcap finish bottle from the same vintage.[5] A tasting room and store at the winery is open to the public.


  1. ^ Gannon, Suzanne (2007). "Why Boutique Vintners Like Alternative Closures" Wines & Vines Jan. 1, 2007.
  2. ^ a b Foderaro, T.J. (2008). Screw caps pass test as cork alternative,, 22 January 2008.
  3. ^ a b PlumpJack Group (2005). "The History of PlumpJack". PlumpJack Group official web site. Retrieved Oct. 26, 2007.
  4. ^ Ross, Jordan P. (2002). "Natural Cork, Corkiness, Synthetics & Screw Caps". Enology International. Retrieved Oct. 26, 2007.
  5. ^ a b Carson, Pierce L. (2007). "PlumpJack's noble experiment". The Napa Valley Register. Oct. 12, 2007.
  6. ^ Rauber, Chris (2004). "Newsom's wine wins top honor". San Francisco Business Times. Dec. 21, 2004.
  7. ^ "Search Term(s): 'plumpjack'". The Independent Consumer's Guide to Fine Wine. Retrieved Oct. 26, 2007.

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Coordinates: 38°27′28″N 122°21′57″W / 38.4579°N 122.3658°W / 38.4579; -122.3658