About

Our History

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THE STORY BEGINS

Joullian Vineyards was created by the Joullian and Sias families of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with the goal of producing estate-crafted wines with the complexity, finesse and ageability characteristic of the finest wines of the world. Recognizing the need for estate control, the partnership embarked upon a long-term plan and soon engaged Ridge Watson, with international winemaking experience, to seek and develop the unique combination of land, vineyards and winery facilities necessary for fine wine production.

A MOUNTAIN VINEYARD

Early in 1982, Joullian Vineyards, Ltd. purchased 655 acres of hillside benchland at an elevation of 1400 feet, in the heart of the remote Carmel Valley viticulture appellation. Following extensive contouring and terracing, 40 acres of high density-spaced vines were planted in the rocky Arroyo Seco series loam. The planting emphasized Bordeaux varieties and allocated two-thirds of the vineyard to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon . . . plus Carmel Valley’s first Zinfandel, which was personally planted by Dick Sias. The remaining acreage, originally planted to Chardonnay, was grafted to more pre-Prohibition Zinfandel selections throughout the 1990s. Pursuing complexity in the wines, Watson planted multiple clones of each varietal from reputed sources such as Mount Veeder, 3 Palms, Diamond Mountain, Sterling, Ventana, Brandlin, St. Peter’s Church and Lytton springs. The Winery, completed in the spring of 1991, was designed to handle each vineyard block separately to insure that the complex subtleties and nuances produced in the field could be transferred into the bottle.

A NEW CHAPTER

In 2015, Joullian Vineyards, Ltd. was acquired by the Hammler Wine Corporation.  Owned by husband-and-wife team Tom and Jane Lerum, Hammler Wine Corporation is committed to carrying on the legacy of the Joullian brand and will continue to focus on crafting exceptional wines.  With strong ties to both Oklahoma and California, the Lerums plan to build upon Joullian’s historical success and ensure its sustainability for generations to come.

 

Tom & Jane Lerum, Owners

Owners Jane and Tom Lerum are California residents with close ties to Carmel Valley.  The couple was engaged on a family owned property only a few miles away from Joullian Vineyards.  It was through spending time together in Carmel Valley over the years that led Tom and Jane to fall prey to the romance of the wine business.

Jane is an Oklahoma native who got her start working in banking and now serves as a director for the newly established Arnall Family Foundation. She graduated from Duke University where she studied public policy and environmental engineering.

Tom serves in the United States Air Force as an Acquisitions Officer and is stationed in Los Angeles.  Originally from San Diego, Tom graduated from the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs with a degree in Systems Engineering Management.

Both Jane and Tom have studied wine business management at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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Ridge Watson, Winemaker

Born and raised in Kansas City, Watson matriculated at Stanford University (BA History, 1968) where he studied the wines of the world under the tutelage of famed wine merchant, Dick Russ.  After a five-year career as a San Francisco Bay Area wine merchant, Watson obtained his Masters Degree in Food Sciences with emphasis in Enology at CSU Fresno. He then apprenticed in Bordeaux, France (Ch. Carbonnieux) and Australia (Hungerford Hill, Cimicky Winery) prior to joining the Joullian and Sias families of Oklahoma City in 1981 to develop the Joullian Estate and its award-winning wines from the “terroir to the bottle.”

In 1990, Watson oversaw the creation of Joullian Vineyards’ winery, integrating California’s latest technology to minimize labor and maximize control while allowing the winemaker to employ both Burgundian and Bordelaise fermentation regimes, as well as a wide range of barrel aging, temperature and humidity choices.

Watson views his job with Joullian much like a regisseur in the French wine industry with responsibilities ranging from land and vineyard management to winemaking, blending and creating new products, and assisting the marketing of the wines, as the ultimate ambassador of Joullian Vineyards.

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Hal Ellison, General Manager

Hal Ellison began his career at Joullian Vineyards in 2011 as an apprentice under Ridge Watson and quickly established himself as an integral part of the Joullian team.

Within a year he was placed in charge of managing the Village Tasting Room while also remaining involved in production during harvest season.

As Hal continued to successfully develop Joullian’s retail sales operations, he was further entrusted with managing national and international wholesale accounts, and became Joullian’s Director of Sales.

At the beginning of 2016, Hal was promoted to the position of General Manager, where he oversees and directs all personnel, business and sales operations.

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