LJ Crafted Wines

The Story

The Jooste family (Lowell, Anne and their 4 children) relocated from Cape Town, South Africa to the delightful shores of La Jolla in 2012. They crafted the concepts for their business from their experience of managing family-owned Klein Constantia, and Anwilka vineyards which they shared with two eminent French winemakers.

Lowell is fourth generation in a family dedicated to the wine business and developed deep roots in the international wine scene during his 20+ year career in South Africa. Starting a wine business in Southern California called for a pioneering spirit and entrepreneurial innovation to be able to stand out in the newly developing urban winery industry. Inventiveness and reducing environmental impact became pillars of their distinctions.

 

Wine Background

Born in Cape Town, Lowell Jooste is fourth generation in the South African Wine Industry. He received a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Cape Town and later qualified as a South African Chartered Accountant. Deciding to return to his roots in the wine business, he became a visiting scholar at the Viticulture & Enology Department at UC Davis in 1986/7 and worked during the 1987 vintage at Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville, Napa.

After his experience in California, Lowell returned to his family’s vineyard & winery at Klein Constantia, Cape Town, which had been bought in 1980 and was later sold in 2011. He and his father, Duggie, were fully involved in all aspects of the business. In 1997, Lowell bought Anwilka vineyard in the Stellenbosch wine growing area. In 2004, two eminent Bordeaux winemakers – Bruno Prats (previous owner of Ch. Cos d’Estournel) and Hubert de Boüard (owner of Ch. Angélus and La Fleur de Boüard) became equal partners of the vineyard. In 2012, Anwilka was merged into the Klein Constantia company.

Klein Constantia and Anwilka vintages produced during the Jooste’s tenure received noteworthy acclaim including:

  • 97 rating in 2012 Wine Advocate for 2007 vintage of Vin de Constance
  • Several wines from 2004 through 2006 vintages received scores in the mid 90’s by Wine Spectator & The Wine Advocate
  • Selected in the “Top 100 Wines in 2015” in Wine Spectator: #10 for the 2009 Klein Constantia Vin de Constance
  • Acclaim from Robert Parker on Anwilka’s maiden vintage (2005) reads as follows: "Fabulous...this is the finest red wine I have ever had from South Africa...This debut release, the 2005, a blend of 37% Syrah and the balance Cabernet Sauvignon, is world class stuff, exceptional wine...."
  • Both Anwilka and Klein Constantia wines were featured in the book “1001 Wines You Must Taste Before You Die (2008)”
  • The 2002 Fall issue of the US Wine and Spirits Magazine featured Klein Constantia as one of the world’s 25 great vineyards

LJ Crafted Wines was born from an intention to reduce environmental impact, which inspired creative thinking around standard practices in the wine industry. To break with normal methods of bottling and packaging by adopting the use of growlers seen in the San Diego craft beer industry, Lowell focused on developing a delivery system which would enable wine to be served directly from the barrel. His innovative, patent- pending apparatus, aptly named the “Wine Steward,” allows wine to be served repeatedly from the barrel in which it is aging while maintaining the integrity of the barrel’s remaining contents. Lowell has supplemented the role of the barrel, the traditional and beloved component of winemaking, with his high quality, hygienic and simple technology that has the potential to change how wine is offered – the distinctive feature at LJ Crafted Wines Tasting Room.

Long-standing La Jolla – Cape Town connection

Lowell visited La Jolla many times owing to a longstanding family friendship forged before World War I. His grandfather was a close friend of fellow WW1 fighter pilot Tom Jackson’s grandfather.

He was a visiting student in viticulture & winemaking in 1986/7 at UC Davis and thereafter worked at Robert Mondavi Winery, Napa. During that time he became good friends with Tom, a La Jolla native.

Tom buying the first bottle of LJ Crafted Wine from Lowell

Tom and Lowell’s grandfathers from Southern California & Cape Town, before they became fighter pilots

 

LJ Crafted Wines Logo

Our logo has been carefully considered to best reflect our long-established family’s rich past and future intentions. We have chosen to blend this heritage with a more light-hearted element, hence the fun circus-like ‘Ring Master’ font.

The pelican is a symbol of our home in La Jolla’s Bird Rock, while the wreath of oak and olive branches symbolize heritage and achievement, respectively. The horseshoe shape represents luck, while the ribbon ties it all together in harmony.

As Lowell shares La Jolla’s initials, it was decided that the new adventure be called LJ Crafted Wines.