Field Reports

Teeing Up The New Year

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Chuck-and-JosephPictured here is Jarhead liaison Chuck Carlson (at left) with Joseph Franzia, owner of our distributor Bronco Wine Co. / Classic Wines of California, at the company’s recent annual sales meeting in Ceres, California.

Joseph served as a USMC Captain of Delta 1/7 in Vietnam and received a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. As you can imagine, he his a big fan of our wines, and the feelings are mutual.

For Chuck, the meeting was an opportunity to connect with around 70 Classic Wine representatives from around the nation, including those who sell our wines to military bases on the East Coast. He tasted them on our latest releases and filled them in on the latest news in the world of Jarhead Wine Company. Chuck is also a winemaker, so he was able to share details about our vineyards in Santa Barbara County.

A new year is upon us, and a meeting like this makes sure that our wines remained deployed as far and wide as possible!


Introducing Nick Firestone of Jarhead Wine Company

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

Nick-Firestone-MarinesAs they say, like father like son…

Indeed, Nicholas Firestone (CAPT USMC ’11-’15), son of Jarhead Wine Company founder Adam Firestone (CAPT USMC ’84 – ’91), is currently transitioning from the Marine Corps and becoming more actively involved in Jarhead wines.

We caught up with Nick to learn what he’s been up to–and what lies ahead:

What are you doing for Jarhead Wine Company?

-What I am doing for Jarhead is telling its story and getting the word out. The Jarhead Wine Company is unique and special in that it offers affordable, great-value wines made by Marines to be enjoyed by Marines, and with an added bonus that we can give something back. So, I look forward to continuing to tell the story of Jarhead Wines.

You are currently transitioning from the Marine Corps. Tell us a bit more about your career in the Marines…

-While I grew up in a winemaking family, I am also a third generation Marine. My grandfather was a Marine Major who flew Corsairs in World War II and in the Korean War, and my father was a Marine Captain who served in Desert Storm when I was a toddler. With a strong Marine Corps’ tradition, I have served all over the world for the last four years as an Artillery Officer with 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment including in Thailand, Korea, Mongolia, and Afghanistan. It has been a wonderful, life-changing experience.

You recently helped winemaker Andrew Murray with the harvesting and “crush” of Jarhead grapes—what was that like? How does the fruit look this year?

– Andrew is a wealth of knowledge with infectious enthusiasm who is sort of like a big brother to me. Having grown up in a wine family and well used to pitching in during harvest, it was great to join him this year as there is lots of work to go around. It seems as though this year will be a unique challenge for Andrew and other valley winemakers, as this harvest began somewhat early and yield is slightly low. I look forward to hearing more about the creative angle that Andrew will take to approach making wine this year.

You grew up in a winemaking (and brewing) family. What is your fondest or earliest memory of the winemaking life?

– Growing wine in my family prepared me well for life in the Marine Corps, as dedication, strong work ethic, passion, and early mornings are staples of both. For us, there is a strong emphasis on family, and there always has been. My fondest memory is one of our picking contest that we had when I was 12. At one point, my father, grandfather, and I were all shearing grape clusters together, and there’s nothing cooler than picking grapes with your heroes!

Net proceeds of Jarhead wines are donated to USMC-based charities, primarily the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. What makes the foundation such a great cause?

– The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation is an incredible organization that provides scholarships to military children, giving special consideration to the children of fallen Marines. It’s hard to think of a better way to honor the legacy and sacrifice of these Marines than by educating their children. We have worked alongside the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation for many years now, and their cause is near and dear to our hearts.

Nick_Crushing


Headlong into Harvest

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

The harvest season in the Jarhead Nation always begins with Chardonnay, which is the earliest-ripening grape variety in our family of wines. And this year, the harvest is happening even earlier than usual…

In a so-called “normal” year, we would expect to begin harvesting Chardonnay in early to mid September. This year, however, we will begin picking before the month of August is over.

Indeed, we expect to start harvesting fruit for the 2015 Jarhead Chard within a few days at the Firestone family’s Curtis and Kingsley estate vineyards in Santa Barbara County’s Santa Ynez Valley.

We are not alone. Across the Central Coast, the 2015 harvest is notably early.

So why is that? There are several factors. A mild winter brought a slightly early bud break, which got the growing season going sooner rather than later. Also, after abundant yields over the past several years, the crop loads are smaller this year. And the less grapes the vine has to ripen, the more quickly things go.

The word from the vineyard is that the fruit is nevertheless looking and tasting great. The grapes seem balanced in terms of physiological ripeness, and smaller yields typically translate to rich, concentrated flavors.

So off we go, headlong into the harvest a bit early this year. We look forward to sharing the fruits of our labors with you.


The New Jarhead “Case Card”

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

JHR_CardHere’s something to keep an eye out for at your neighborhood market or wine shop: the new Jarhead Red display card, hot off the presses this week.

Known in the trade as a “case card,” it is designed to slot upright into wine case boxes for in-store display. We kept the main message simple: “A robust red wine made by Marines.” No need to get fancy about it, right?

The card also lets people know that every bottle supports a worthy cause, with net proceeds of all sales going to USMC-based charities, primarily the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.

We wanted the design of the case card to be bold yet elegant, just like the wine. We hope you agree that it hits the mark.


Jarhead Red at Camp Pendleton

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Vineyard WestIn addition to being an iconic Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton in California’s San Diego County is home to many Marines who support Jarhead Red.

Indeed, the base is home to several stores that stock our wines, including Beverages, Etc., Seaside Square and Vineyard West.

“Vineyard West is a gorgeous store, it’s something that would fit just fine in Napa Valley,” says John Bagley, the Classic Wines of California sales representative who represents Jarhead Wine Company on the base. Pictured above is a Jarhead endcap display at Vineyard West.

At these stores and others, John finds that buyers and customers alike are intrigued by the Jarhead story, most notably our Marine-centric mission and history.

“I try to spread the word about Jarhead’s substantial support of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation,” John says. “There are a lot of brands out there that bill themselves as charitable, but only some of them really deliver, and Jarhead is one of them. When local Marines and their families learn that Jarhead Red goes to a good cause and raises a lot of funds every year, they really respond to it.”

If you’re ever at Camp Pendleton, keep an eye out for John at one of Vineyard West’s tastings that run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.

“I periodically pour Jarhead wines at Vineyard West’s tastings, and it’s an honor to share them with the U.S. Marines there on the base,” he says.


Honoring Local Iwo Jima Veterans

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Iwo_Jima_VetsHistory recently came alive at the 4th annual Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation luncheon and symposium in Santa Barbara, featuring four veterans who survived one of the most significant battles of the Pacific during World War II: Iwo Jima.

The luncheon honored Cpl. Benedict E. Bellefeuille, Cpl. Joseph Hale and Lt. Col. Bob Beckham, all Marines, and Pharmacist’s Mate Kenneth E. Morehouse of the Navy—all of whom reside on the Central Coast. The program included presentations about these four veterans by other veterans, along with historical information about the battles as well as film clips and music.

Following a short version of the “Sands of Iwo Jima” film, individual awards were presented. Each of the honorees was presented with a commemorative plaque and a bottle of special label Jarhead Red wine. Pictured below is Mr. Morehouse signing bottles of Jarhead Red prior to the event.

We salute the honorees and all of the veterans who made this event happen, and we were honored to have Jarhead Red play a small role along the way. Click here to read a full recap of the event. And thanks to Maureen “Mo” McFadden, legendary Santa Barbara P.R. practitioner, for sending information and photos.

Ken_Morehouse_Signing


Patriots at Pebble

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Patriots_at_Pebble

L-R: David Macon, Dean Biersch, Caddy Rob, Kevin Orona and Jeff Jordano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were excited to play an active role in the Patriots at Pebble event last weekend in Pebble Beach, California, which raised more than $700,000 for the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.

The weekend included a Marine Appreciation Day at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey on Saturday, as well as the Eagle, Globe & Anchor Awards Dinner on Sunday at the Inn at Spanish Bay. Golf tournaments were also held on Sunday at Spanish Bay and Monday at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Jarhead Wine Company was proud to donate both Jarhead Red and Jarhead Chardonnay to the awards dinner and auction. We were represented at Patriots at Pebble by David Macon, VP of sales and marketing at our affiliated Firestone Walker Brewing Company, along with Kevin Orona, the brewery’s national accounts manager.

According to David, our wines were a hit at the auction. “The organizer told me that a wine named Jarhead Red is not a tough sell to old Marines,” he said.

David and Kevin also hit the links along with team members Dean Biersch of Gordon Biersch Brewing Company and HopMonk Tavern, and Jeff Jordano, president of Pacific Beverage Company.

Said David, “It was a tremendous honor to participate in the company of so many Marine Corps veterans and active duty service men and women. It’s impressive to see the Marine Corps not only taking care of its own, but also working so hard to provide scholarships for children of wounded and fallen Marines.”


Sun Shines on Jarhead Wine Company

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

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Our thanks go out to Hayley Thomas of the Santa Maria Sun for her magnificent feature story on Jarhead Wine Company.

The story delves into the origins of Jarhead Red, as well as the charitable mission and family ties that continue to drive us today.

Writes Thomas, “Adam (Firestone), a former Marine Corps captain, believes wine can change the world. As owner of Jarhead Wine Company, he’s already touched the lives of dozens of veterans across the Central Coast and beyond…Jarhead Wine Company’s mission is beautifully simple: to craft robust, approachable red wines in support of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, which provides educational assistance to the children of U.S. Marines. All net proceeds go toward this cause, with particular attention given to children of fallen and injured servicemen and women—more than half a million dollars in direct cash since Adam’s first unveiling of the wine at the annual Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation’s Birthday Ball in 1999.”

You can read the full story here.


New Release: 2011 Jarhead Reserve

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

We are excited to share that the 2011 Jarhead Reserve is now available.

The 2011 Jarhead Reserve is a limited-edition wine that is crafted as our finest expression of the vintage. Think of it as the “dress blues” companion to the more “camo” style of Jarhead Red.

The 2011 Jarhead Reserve is composed primarily of Cabernet Franc from the Firestone family’s Curtis Estate vineyard in the heart of Santa Barbara County’s Santa Ynez Valley. The wine was aged for 18 months in premium French oak barrels, of which 20 percent featured new oak. The inclusion of Petit Verdot in the final blend brought added color, complexity and dimension to the wine.

The 2011 Jarhead Reserve is round and velvety, presenting deep black fruit flavors with notes of cherry, mint and cinnamon spice. Chewy tannins linger on a long, focused finish. This is a wine that will reward careful cellaring, but don’t be afraid to uncork it now as a centerpiece for a holiday meal.


A Time to Celebrate

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Nick returns home

Following is an excerpt from a post by wine writer Gabe Saglie about a special homecoming in the Jarhead Wine Company family:

The Firestone family is celebrating a homecoming: 1st Lt. Nick Firestone has just returned from a year-long deployment in Afghanistan. The 26-year-old Marine arrived home in the Santa Ynez Valley on November 8th. This was the second deployment for the young member of the well-known Santa Barbara County family, who ended his first tour, in the South Pacific, early last year.

“For me, it’s half excitement and anticipation, and the other side is parental nerves,” his dad, Adam Firestone, told me last year, right before his (and wife Kate’s) son left for the Middle East. “But I understand the tradition.”

And he should. Adam Firestone is, himself, a former Marine, having joined in 1984. He was promoted to Captain in 1988, ahead of his deployment to the Persian Gulf, and ended his service in 1991. Mr. Firestone, 52, son of Kate and former 35th District State Assemblyman Brooks Firestone, has since gone on to spearhead the family’s business ventures in wine grape growing and craft beer making.

The Firestones’ connection to the U.S. Marines has, in fact, inspired one of their ongoing winemaking ventures: the Jarhead label.

Our thanks go out to Gabe for his support of Jarhead Wine Company. Click here to read the rest of his story on Jarhead.