October 28, 2010 | by Lisa Mattson

Jordan Winemaker Rob Davis has forged strong connections with many of Alexander Valley’s finest grape growing families, including the Millers, the Mazzonis, the Dilworths and the Munselles. Fifth-generation grower Bret Munselle farms several plots of his Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vines to Rob’s specifications.

During my first harvest at Jordan in 2010, I visited Bret at a Munselle family vineyard, which is flanked by three homes: Bret’s, his father’s and his grandfather’s. While harvesting Merlot grapes for Jordan, Bret explained the practice of sorting grapes on a gondola board in the vineyard. These grapes were hand-sorted a second time at the winery to ensure only the finest berries were pressed.

Bret also shared the story of the first time he delivered grapes to Rob back in 2007. Rob tasted each gondola of grapes and identified the flavor differences by soil type. That moment defined their working relationship for years to come.

A few weeks later, I also followed Bret to a high-elevation Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard just above his grandfather’s home. His crew picked fruit for us on the hillside while the sun was rising. Both the vista views and the berries were beautiful, so we captured the moment on video.