Enjoy Napa-Made Wine From Barrel To Glass (Or Growler) At LJ Crafted Wines In Bird Rock

December 16, 2016

Move over craft beer, vinification is making waves in America's Finest City! Located in the quaint neighborhood of Bird Rock is LJ Crafted Wines - a family-run wine bar and shop helmed by a 4th generation winemaker who developed a cutting-edge process that allows wines to be served directly from barrel to glass.

Owned by former South African winemaker Lowell Jooste, who moved with his family to La Jolla in 2012, LJ Crafted Wines began in 2013, but the 2014 Napa earthquake resulted in a huge delay and caused the loss of most of the first production. Jooste recovered, and his desire to ship wine by the barrel from Napa to San Diego resulted in the opening of LJ Wines this past February in the space formerly occupied by Julian Bakery.

Lowell comes from a long history of winemakers and previously managed his family’s vineyards, the historic Klein Constantia in Cape Town, for over two decades. He also established another winery, Anwilka Vineyards, together with winemakers from Bordeaux, France, and their wines have received rave reviews. Joost also worked at Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa in the late '80s.

The design at LJ Crafted Wines is perfect for San Diego with a garage door window and counter seating area opening up to La Jolla Boulevard. Glass-top barrel tables sit along the southern wall opposing a long glass bar. The wine barrel stave wall (made using Jooste's own destroyed barrels from the Napa earthquake) feature art by local artists and succulents in repurposed wine bottles.

A variety of wines are served by the glass or to-go in refillable wine growler and cork-sealed bottles directly from barrels situated under the bar using patent-pending technology developed by Jooste, who was inspired by a desire to cut the unnecessary waste and bottling emissions all too prevalent in modern winemaking. The process also reduces the need for filtering wine and adding preservatives, which Jooste claims results in a better tasting product.

The grapes for LJ Crafted Wines are grown at respected vineyards in Napa, Sonoma and the Russian River Valley and barreled by expert winemakers in California's esteemed wine country. Customers can see where the grapes were grown for the rotating selection of wines through a 3D topographic map. LJ Wines also offers a concise menu of small plates and desserts (including red wine infused chocolate truffles), designed to compliment the wine offerings. 

LJ Crafted Wines has a wine club and holds frequent pairing and special events. For more information, visit ljcraftedwines.com, call 858.551.8890, and check out the menus below.