The J. Wilkes AVA’s have a memorable legacy.
The legacy began in the hills of the Santa Maria Valley many years before it was founded in 2001. Jefferson Wilkes, a well-known grape grower, salesman and ambassador for Santa Maria and Paso Robles wine, was always highly involved in the wine trade in the Santa Maria Valley. After many years of the industry, his love for the region and the wine steered him towards his decision to become a winemaker himself, focusing on Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay. With his passing in 2010, he left a mark on the Santa Maria Valley wine country. Due to his unwavering love for the region, his label was later relaunched.
Today, winemaker and brand ambassador, Wes Hagen, continues the J. Wilkes Wine legacy, celebrating the craft of Jeff Wilkes and the winemaking history of the Miller Family, who has been involved with Central Coast agriculture since 1871. Wes has been winemaking for 25 years (and counting) in the Santa Maria Valley and other regions. Although he made his very first Pinot Noir in Santa Maria more-than 20 years ago, he prefers a Santa Maria Valley Pinot Blanc! However, he was not always a winemaker. Wes was a high school English teacher but was inspired by his mentor, Bryan Babcock at Babcock Vineyards, and his family to pursue the winemaking trade.
Wes’ winemaking style is simple so he can let the vineyard shine through with minimal footprint. As the years pass by, Wes’ love for winemaking in the Santa Maria Valley continues to grow. His favorite part about living in the Santa Maria Valley are the three W’s: the weather, wine and his wife. An accomplished wine writer, researcher and lecturer, Wes continues to make memorable wine for J. Wilkes and enjoying the best weather that is not only perfect for family adventures but for winemaking as well!
J. Wilkes sells artisan wines on their website and in many retailers.