“New” was the buzz word for our show with Kivelstadt Cellars’ proprietor and “Wayward Son,” Jordan Kivelstadt. Getting back to in-person shows felt new to the hosts (as it had been more than a year since the last in-person show). Getting to enjoy Kivelstadt’s new California wines and first-ever winegarten in Sonoma was a treat. And, of course, Jordan thrives on entrepreneurial innovation of anything new for the wine business and enhancing consumer engagement.
Jordan was trained as an engineer at Tufts University before moving on to management consulting for more than two years. Then, after a stint as production manager for The Donum Estate, he made wine in four countries and eventually founded his own bottle brand, Kivelstadt Cellars. As if the pace wasn’t fast enough, Jordan managed his family’s organic 10-acre Sonoma County, California vineyard; co-founded Free Flow Wines, the pioneer of premium wine on tap; and continued to serve on numerous boards of local government and non-profit organizations. We were sure he never slept!
Back to the beginning: In the last 10+ years, we watched Kivelstadt grow from a mere few hundred cases to around 8,000 today. Wine Women even held an event several years ago in their old tasting room in Glen Ellen. But knowing expansion was a must, Jordan made the leap to a much larger hospitality facility last year…just in time for the pandemic to hit and shut everything down. (Ugh!)
Kivelstadt Cellars, however, has a huge advantage over many, much smaller producers: their enormous garden shaded by ancient trees. It provided the needed COVID-19 social distancing space for guests. With well over a dozen wines to taste and buy, visitors and club members all can try something new with each visit. (In fact, guests can even select some non-Kivelstadt wines during special tasting experiences.) Even guests’ dogs can try something new with a wee dog menu available side-by-side with the human brunch and lunch menus. (Co-host Lisa Adams Walter was admiring the Brulee Grapefruit on the menu!) Oh, and the kids? Steer them to the wee playground in the garden to entertain themselves. There’s something for everyone here, including beer on tap and a few cocktails.
Tune in to hear about the wines tasted during the show. They range from experiments, under his KC Labs label, to more “prime time” endeavors that have proven solid winners in the Kivelstadt lineup for several years. Kivelstadt’s wines are all organic; sustainability is a core tenet for all of Jordan’s endeavors.
When asked what type of consumers would best like Kivelstadt wines, Jordan told a wonderful story to the hosts about a hard-to-please guest that will resonate with many a hospitality professional: It took time and gentle probing to discover the customer’s preferred flavor profile. But he did succeed and impressed him, proving the appeal of the Kivelstadt portfolio to many different wine drinkers.
Ever the innovator, we had to ask the direction of Free Flow Wines, the company he co-founded more than a decade ago to bring wine into kegs. Jordan’s now stepped back to a board role with the firm, but between the rebound beginning as the pandemic recedes and the acceleration by which canned wine consumption are growing, he sees nothing but great growth ahead for this innovative company. After all, if you can dramatically reduce consumption of packaging materials (more than two cases of wine can be stored in a keg, eliminating bottle glass, capsules, labels, and cardboard casing…), and by recycling the original container (as is done with kegs) you’re moving towards net zero waste in a big way. This is a huge win for the wine industry and the planet.
Where is it all headed? You’ll have to listen in to hear this entrepreneur’s predictions for the future of Kivelstadt Cellars, Free Flow Wines and the wine industry at large. Right now we’re betting on Jordan Kivelstadt taking it all in the right direction. Listen in to find out.
We recommend making reservations to visit Kivelstadt Cellars’ winegarten for brunch, lunch or a wine tasting experience. Be sure to bring Fido, the kids and your friends. And be sure to follow them on social media!
Kivelstadt Cellars | 707.938.7001 | 22900 Broadway, Sonoma, California | @Kivelstadtcellars
Free Flow Wines | @Freeflowwines