When friends and winemakers Micah Joseph Wirth and Adrian Jewell Manspeaker teamed up in 2006, they made their first wine in a Windsor garage. With two French oak barrels, a small basket press, and just one ton of Russian River Valley grapes, they produced 50 cases of a single-vineyard Pinot Noir. With no winery affiliation or property of their own, they combined their middle names for the new venture and pooled their resources to build their own wine company dedicated to capturing the terroir of single-vineyard sites. The success of that first release enabled Micah and Adrian to invest seriously in Joseph Jewell Wines, leave the garage days behind, and produce exceptional wines of distinction and acclaim. Since the first commercial vintage of 2007, the wines of Micah and Adrian have been recognized for their elegance and singularity of expression. With a desire to create something uniquely their own while honoring their individual roots, this winemaking duo chose to create wines from Sonoma County (where Micah grew up) and Humboldt County (where Adrian grew up).Joseph Jewell Wines is a personal story told in vinous form, with each bottle from each vintage contributing a special chapter in a tale of exploration and a passion for wine.
Micah is the fourth generation in a family of wine pioneers. Raised in Alexander Valley, his interest in wine started at only eight years old when he accompanied his winemaker father Chris Wirth to work at Preston Vineyards. Once he was old enough to be helpful in the cellar, Micah learned the basics of winemaking from his father at ElvenGlade and Raptor Ridge in Oregon. The logical next step was enology classes at UC Davis, and then grueling 15-hour days of harvest internships at Chalk Hill Winery.
A year later, he was hired on full-time at Gary Farrell Winery. For the next 7 years, he worked with highly regarded winemakers Gary Farrell and Susan Reed. The hard work fueled Micah’s passion for winemaking and his ambition to start his own label. His tenure as Cellar Master at Gary Farrell was instrumental in developing partnerships with grape growers and securing top-quality fruit for Joseph Jewell.
Having grown up on the fog-shrouded northern coast of California, Adrian learned early on to appreciate the complicated patchwork of micro-climates of his home. When he moved to Sonoma County, he discovered an interest in the origin of wine and the evolution from vineyard to barrel to bottle.
His wine country location allowed him to study winemaking and viticulture through UC Davis’s extension program and take business management courses on the side. Putting theory into practice, Adrian joined C. Donatiello for the 2007 crush, then lent a hand at Peay Vineyards during the 2008 harvest.
It was round that time that he teamed up with Micah, and the two became winemaking partners under the Joseph Jewell name. Adrian’s intense drive and commitment are evident in every detail of his work–from his relationships with the growers, to the design of the labels, to the overall quality of the finished product.
Now, with 12 years of winemaking experience, Adrian has added some new bottling duties to his life away from the winery. He and his wife Lily have welcomed two daughters–Harlow (2015 vintage) and Monroe (2017 vintage)–with daddy serving as Chief Bottle Washer at their home in Forestville.