September 1, 2022 | by Lisa Mattson

Nearly 250 guests stepped out in style in Denver to raise a toast to Jordan Winery’s 50th anniversary and raise funds for Clayton Early Learning. Hosted at the gardens surrounding the Governor’s Residence, the two events made Denver Broncos news headlines as many Broncos—past and present—turned out with professional sports coaches, socialites, stellar chefs, and celebrities to generate more than $120,000 for Clayton Early Learning’s Health & Wellness programs.

At the Jordan Big Bottle Party on June 3, Denver Broncos’ quarterback, Russell Wilson, led the Jordan Big Bottle Squad parade, showing off a 6-liter of 2012 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, along with his wife Ciara, Denver Broncos teammates outside linebacker, Bradley Chubb, and running back, Javonte Williams. The Big Bottle Squad paraded down the picturesque Governor’s Mansion steps to the song, “Bang” by AJR, followed by “Big Energy” by Latto and “Level Up” by Ciara for the uncorking ceremony. The team was later joined by head coach Nathaniel Hackett for the dessert reception and big bottle uncorking. Top Chef alum Carrie Baird and Jordan winemaker Maggie Kruse opened big bottles in front of an enthusiastic crowd—including a rare 18-liter bottle of 2018 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon carried in by Chubb, while Jordan staff roamed with magnums and 3-liter bottles of 2009 and 2006 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon.

two men and two women standing and holding bottle of wine
Pictured left to right: Russell Wilson, Ciara Princess Wilson, John Jordan and Maggie Kruse.

“You know, the reality is, what Ciara and I really believe in, is much is given – much is required.  And we’ve been given a lot, and it’s really important for us to give back,” Russell Wilson commented during a Denver Broncos news interview at the event.

During the Jordan Big Bottle Party, guests strolled through the terraced gardens, sampling an array of Jordan wines, each exquisitely paired with an hors d’oeuvre by local chefs. Coohills Restaurant paired the 2014 Jordan Chardonnay with its Blue Crab Cake (finished with a Jordan Cuvee Champagne Tarragon Mousseline and Jordan Sonoma Sand); Urban Farmer served a Braised Pork Belly with Jordan Estate Smoked Salt, Jordan Red Wine Pearls and Smoked Corn Chutney to complement the 2013 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon; and Guard & Grace paired the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon magnum with a Sous Vide Prime Striploin with Baked Potato Toast. Epicurean Catering & E5 Events, who orchestrated the weekend events, paired the newly released 2020 Jordan Chardonnay and 2018 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon with aburi sushi and a charcuterie station, featuring Jordan exclusive salumi recipes by Journeyman Meat Co.

sushi on platter

Saturday night’s Gather in the Garden Dinner & Auction on June 4 featured Top Chef alumni, Carrie Baird of Culinary Creative in Denver, Justin Sutherland of Handsome Hog and TruTV’s Fast Foodies of Minneapolis and Brother Luck of Four by Brother Luck in Colorado Springs, who created delectable hors d’oeuvres at the Champagne reception, followed by a seated, four-course dinner at the Governor’s Residence upper terrace, all orchestrated with the support of Epicurean Catering & E5 Events. Pop string quartet Spinphony roamed through the gardens while guests dined on exquisite pairings, each presented by the chef and Jordan winemaker Maggie Kruse.

During the third course, “celebrity sommeliers” poured the never released 2005 Jordan Super Blend and 2006 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon in magnum for the 15 tables of dinner partygoers, seated at tables of seven to eight around the garden’s central fountain. The celebrity sommeliers, which drew more Denver Broncos news excitement, included: Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Atwater; Denver Broncos Ring of Famer, Randy Gradishar; Denver Broncos Ring of Famer, Billy Thompson; Former Denver Nuggets Player and Coach, Bill Hanzlik; Littleton Mayor, Kyle Schlachter; Broncos Head Coach, Nathaniel Hackett; and Broncos Offensive Coordinator, Justin Outten.

Reggie Rivers, a former Denver Bronco leads live auction at the Governor’s Residence in Denver for Jordan Winery’s 50th anniversary celebration on June 4, 2022.

A live auction of six lots, led by auctioneer Reggie Rivers, a former Denver Bronco, featured travel getaways to Jordan Winery’s estate in Healdsburg, Calif., large-format bottles of Jordan library wines, private tastings with the Jordan winemaker and sports memorabilia from the Broncos, Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche. The top lot of the night—a Jordan Estate Experience for 8, garnered $10,000. Overall, more than $45,000 was raised during the auction.

Founded in 1972 by Tom and Sally Jordan, who lived in Denver at the time, Jordan Vineyard & Winery is today owned and operated by their son, John Jordan, who still considers himself a Denverite at heart. He returned to the city where he was born to host both events and to raise funds and awareness for the health and wellness programs that serve children and families of Denver through Clayton Early Learning.

“Clayton Early Learning is deeply grateful to John Jordan, the John Jordan Foundation, and of course the Jordan Vineyard & Winery,” said Sarah Berkman, Vice President, Development at Clayton Early Learning. “A 50th anniversary is certainly worthy of a grand celebration, but the fact that you chose to celebrate by making a lasting impact on our community is truly remarkable. On behalf of the Clayton children and families who will benefit from this incredible weekend of events, we extend our heartfelt thanks.”

“Jordan Winery may be in Sonoma County, California, but it was born in Denver, Colorado. My parents love of food and wine started in France, but developed while we were living in Denver during my wonder years,” said John Jordan, CEO of Jordan Vineyard & Winery. “It’s only fitting that I came back to my hometown, the birthplace of Jordan Winery, to celebrate this milestone while giving back to a wonderful cause.”

The John Jordan Foundation, Jordan Winery’s philanthropic arm, made a $100,000 investment in advance of event production, allowing the nonprofit to generate approximately $120,000 in funding for the health and wellness programs at Clayton Early Learning. Clayton serves 500 of the more than 7,000 Denver children who are living below the poverty line. Along with the Denver Educare school, Clayton provides a full complement of support and services for children and their families. Learn more at the foundation.