LJ Crafted Wines: Bird Rock’s First Contemporary Winery

lj crafted wines la jolla

Bird Rock’s LJ Crafted Wines is changing the wine game for the better. Their signature move: a novel process that allows their 11 wines to be served directly from the barrel. Stop by their packed tasting room any day of the week to learn more and try amazing contemporary wines!

A Part of Bird Rock

Once you step into their beautifully designed space, you can instantly see how much LJ Crafted Wines belongs to Bird Rock: the walls (made from their barrels broken in the Napa earthquake) feature mosaics from local artist Jane Wheeler, also responsible for Bird Rock’s mosaic benches. LJ Crafted Wines is a family-owned urban winery, named for both founder Lowell Jooste and La Jolla. The Jooste family has called Bird Rock home for the last four years and say that running a business has helped them interact with the community in new ways and feel more part of it. Family-friendly status as a ‘wine tasting counter’ allows kids inside, which Lowell notes is “very important” for Bird Rock’s young families.

“There’s a spirit in California where people encourage others to break new ground, a spirit of entrepreneurship and in other parts of the world that’s not the same,” says Lowell, and LJ Crafted Wines is certainly taking advantage of it. Though only open 6 months, LJ Crafted Wines is already off to an incredibly popular start and is truly La Jolla’s wine counterpart to the technically creative San Diego craft beer industry.

Groundbreaking New Practices

LJ Crafted Wines brings to Bird Rock wines that draw on decades of winery experience. “The fun part of business is doing it in a new way and a way that makes sense,” says Lowell. This can be seen in their decentralized urban winery model, which allows them to buy grapes grown throughout the Napa Valley & Sonoma areas from the locations where the particular grape varieties excel.

LJ Crafted Wines is the first to develop a process of serving wines directly from the barrel, by the glass or ‘to go’ with reusable growlers. This addresses several of LJ Crafted Wines priorities, adapted from years of frustrations with the traditional wine industry. Firstly, this process conserves resources by exchanging traditional disposable glass wine bottles with refillable wine growlers. Glass waste and bottling emissions typically make up half of a winery’s carbon footprint. Eliminating the bottling process reduces filterings and avoids additional preservatives used by all but a few commercial wineries during bottling, resulting in more flavorful wines. Finally, LJ Crafted Wines uses their unique patent-pending technology that replaces displaced wine with inert (nonreactive) gases instead of surrounding air that allows the wine remaining in the barrel to stay fresh and unaffected. 

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Your Tasting Experience at LJ Crafted Wines

Visitors can expect an eye-opening experience at LJ Crafted Wines. Well informed wine staff will guide you through a Tasting List of six wines, selected new every two weeks to offer a fresh selection and expand visitors’ palates. (Members of the Wine Club will get two free tastings a month to share with a friend, as well as discounts on wines to take home). “There’s quite a lot of thirst among consumers [to] know more about where their wine and food comes from,” says Lowell. Customers will not be disappointed, as the staff know the wine-making process top to bottom and even accompany Lowell on his monthly trips up to Napa. Want to see where your wine came from? You’ll be shown exactly where in the Napa Valley the grapes were grown on a 3D topographical map. LJ Crafted Wines also emphasizes customer learning through food pairings and is developing classes to be hosted in the future.

LJ Crafted Wines is open Tuesday – Thursday noon to 9:00 pm, Friday – Saturday noon to 10:00 pm, and Sunday – Monday 3:00 pm to 9:00 pm at 5621 La Jolla Blvd (next to Bird Rock Coffee Roasters). Stop by this community favorite for an entertaining and informative wine experience you’ll never forget!

[Images courtesy of LJ Crafted Wines]

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Katherine Wood

Katherine Wood

Katherine Wood contributed to La Jolla Blue Book from 2015 -2016 and works at the Find It La Jolla Visitor Center. Katherine enjoys reporting on art and music events, of which there are several in La Jolla and San Diego area! Her favorite La Jolla attraction is Madison Gallery.

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