Following harvest, the fruit was hand sorted and gently pressed to retain their delicate aromatics. A long, cool fermentation in stainless steel tanks preserved the varietal characteristics of the fruit.
Joel Gott Wines was established in 1996 with the production of Amador County Zinfandel. Joel had purchased five tons of fruit from boyhood neighbor Tom Dillian and made the wine with then-girlfriend Sarah, a winemaker in Napa Valley. The subsequent 1997 vintage of Dillian Ranch Zinfandel marked not only Sarah and Joel's marriage, but also the first significant reviews of the wine in respected publications.The success of the 1997 vintage allowed Joel to purchase fruit from twelve different vineyards throughout Northern California in 1999. Joel and Sarah originally intended to produce single-vineyard Zinfandels with these grapes but found during tastings that the wine was much more balanced when blended. They adjusted their plans and released their first California Zinfandel, which sold out in one week. Meanwhile, Sarah gained more winemaking experience by producing well-regarded Cabernet blends at the winery where she worked. Her experience with Cabernet blends led to the production of the first Joel Gott California Cabernet in 2003. Joel's next project was California Sauvignon Blanc, the third addition to the portfolio of blended core wines.The core wines now include California appellated wines 815 Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Joel now sources fruit in California, Washington and Oregon. Joel's winemaking abilities led to a collaboration with entrepreneurs Roger Scommegna and Charles Bieler on the Three Thieves brand, which in 2005, partnered with Trinchero Family Estates to establish better market coverage. In 2009, Joel and Sarah partnered with Trinchero Family Estates as well to increase wine distribution and allow them to focus on winemaking and innovation.