In an industry that prides itself on reverence — for the land, for grapes, for the hallowed process of winemaking — Judd Finkelstein (owner and namesake of Judd’s Hill Winery) is a man who is decidedly irreverent. From his ukelele-playing Hawaiian band, The Maikai Gents Featuring The Mysterious Miss Mauna Loa, to his pirate-themed Napa-centric talk show, “Wine Booty!”, Judd is an innovator in making wine promotion more… well, fun!
Combining his background in film production with his winemaking talents, Judd originally created “Judd’s Enormous Wine Show,” a fully scripted tongue-in-cheek video series that gave viewers an insider’s look into Napa’s wine industry through Finkelstein’s self-described “foggy goggles”. When that ran its course, “Wine Booty!” was birthed, a high-seas vino-centric video series showcasing Napa Valley’s saltiest characters.
Pirate-themed hijinks don’t distract Judd from his craft, however. Judd’s Hill Winery was founded by Judd’s father, Art Finkelstein, who sold the successful Whitehall Lane Winery (producing over 30,000 cases a year) and bought the 14 hillside acres off the Silverado Trail that would become Judd’s Hill. “Smaller is better” was his belief and today, two generations of the Finkelstein family – Art, Bunnie, Judd, and his wife Holly – take an intimate approach to winemaking. They focus on making food friendly, small production wines at a reasonable price, limiting annual production to less than 3,000 cases.
Judd’s Hill sells most of their wine directly to consumers, maintaining a close relationship with the people who are drinking the results of their efforts. Utah in particular is a special market for them — the State Stores carry a wider selection than the majority of Judd’s Hill outlets.
Heirloom Group is excited to welcome Judd’s colorful company next week at a Judd’s Hill Wine Dinner at Communal Restaurant. We hope you’ll join us for a night that’s sure to leave an impression. Ahoy!
Judd’s Hill Wine Dinner (December 3 | 6:30 PM | Communal Restaurant). $30 Food | $30 Optional Wine Pairing. Email Chris@communalrestaurant.com for reservations.