Uncorked: Jackson Hole Winery Ready to Drink

As Anthony Schroth poured a group of us tastes of his chardonnay, a few of us were skeptical.

With the label Jackson Hole Winery, I am willing to bet you would have been skeptical, too.

Schroth, a 30-year-old winemaker who splits his time between Jackson Hole and Sonoma,Calif.,  had invited us for a tasting in advance this month’s Film and Food Series, for which he will be providing some wine.

We sipped. We tasted. No one said anything for a few seconds.

“It tastes just like a Russian River chard,” said Liz Gibbs, marketing director for Fine Dining Restaurant Group. “You should do a blind taste test.”

With grapes from the Russian River Valley, why wouldn’t it? Except, this chardonnay — and Schroth’s Rendezvous Red — were aged and cellared at the Schroth family’s home on Boyles Hill Road, 6,229 feet above sea level and about 1,000 miles from the heart of California’s most popular wine region.

And now, months after opening the state’s second winery, Schroth’s wine is ready for consumption (it can be purchased at Dornan’s, The Liquor Store and Bud’s. Restaurants with it on the menu include Trio,  Calico, Nani’s, Amangani, The Cowboy Steakhouse, Thai Me Up, Shooting Star, White Buffalo, and The Silver Dollar Grill.

“We have enough bottles left to get us through the summer and early fall,” said Robert Schroth, Anthony’s father and a partner in the family winery business. “The wine was very well received by the wine buyers in the valley, as the first week of orders was far more then we expected.”

Check out our gallery below (all photos by Tristan Greszko) for more on the story.

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    Jackson Hole Winery
    Having just finished packaging 200 cases of Rendezvous Red and 225 cases of 2010 chardonnay, winemaker Anthony Schroth spent a few days in March giving tastes to valley restaurants and wine shops. On March 20, Schroth held a tasting for participants of the Jackson Hole Film & Food Series.
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    Anthony Schroth
    Schroth, 30, pours a taste of his inaugural red wine, Rendezvous Red, which was bottled in October 2011. The blend took two years to make. Schroth started the wine in California, then trucked it to finish in Jackson. His 2011 zinfandel (shown with painters tape) will be ready next year. He buys grapes from a grower in California.
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    Jackson Hole Winery's next lots of wine
    Jackson Hole Winery is already at work on its next lots. Schroth currently has six barrels of syrah, two barrels of merlot and eight barrels of cabernet. He and his family made three trips to California to pick all the grapes and drove them to Jackson in a Budget rental truck. After picking the grapes, they packed them on ice and drove through the Nevada desert at night to keep them cool.
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    Eleven barrels of Chardonnay aging
    Eleven barrels of chardonnay age in the winery off Boyles Hill Road. The barrels are housed in his family’s old garage (you can still see marks on the walls from hockey practice). When he’s not in Jackson, Schroth is in Sonoma, Calif., where he makes pinot noir for Premonition Cellars.
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    Cabernet Samples
    Schroth gives a sample of his cabernet, crushed and put into barrels in the fall. With a slightly fizzy taste, he explained the wine was still in the fermenting stage. Schroth hesitates to say when he will release his next wines. “When the wine is ready, it’s ready,” he says.
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    Wine Labels
    The last of the labels wait to be applied to bottles of chardonnay. While Jackson Hole may not have the climate to grow grapes, Schroth realized a few years ago that his family’s old garage would be the perfect place to barrel and age wine (after adding some insulation, a heater and an industrial sink found on “Trash and Treasure”). Outside, they have a crush pad for crushing the grapes each fall.
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    Jackson Hole Winery Labels
    Schroth demonstrates a foot pedal-controlled machine that applies labels to the bottles. Jackson Hole Winery expects to distribute locally for its first Rendezvous Red and chardonnay, aged 14 months.
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    Cara labels wine
    Dishing Editor Cara Rank is surprised at the ease of applying the labels. Schroth expects close to 300 cases of his 2011 chardonnay.
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    Foil Wrappers
    Liz Gibbs, marketing director of Fine Dining Restaurant Group, uses a machine to apply the foil wrapper to the top of the bottle over the cork area. The Schroth family labeled and bottled more than 10,000 bottles themselves. “One guy bottled, another corked,” Schroth said.
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    Tasting Gifts
    Parting gifts from the tasting. Schroth found his calling in the winemaking process while in college at Sonoma State University, but he always longed to return to Jackson Hole. So he found a way to split his time between both places. “We have a lot of local breweries in Jackson,” he said. “Why not have a winery.”
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    Tasting Gifts
    Parting gifts from the tasting. Schroth found his calling in the winemaking process while in college at Sonoma State University, but he always longed to return to Jackson Hole. So he found a way to split his time between both places. “We have a lot of local breweries in Jackson,” he said. “Why not have a winery.”
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    Jackson Hole Winery kegs
    Jackson Hole Winery also is embracing a keg program for its wine, a trend that’s sweeping the restaurants across the nation. Kegs protect wine from oxygen, which spoils it, and is why bottles have a shorter shelf life.
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    Sipping Chardonnay
    Schroth sips chardonnay that has been in a keg for about a month. It still tastes like it was just recently opened.
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    Rendezvous Red/Chardonnay
    The winery is not open to the public. But the Rendezvous Red retails for around $28, and the chardonnay for about $24. www.jhwinery.com
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Author:Cara Rank

Also originally from the South, Cara Rank discovered cooking was a creative outlet that helped her relax after long days writing magazine and newspaper articles during the past eight years in Jackson. Really, she just missed Southern food. A lot. During a 12-year career as a journalist, Cara has won numerous awards for her work and has written about everything from rodeo queens to Dolly Parton tomatoes. She spends her weekends making jars of pickles and jam and amazing dinners for friends. She loves shishito peppers, Chicago-style hot dogs and elderflower-spiked cocktails.