California, United States
Introducing Scarecrow Wine
Joseph Judson Cohn was born in Harlem in 1895 to Russian immigrant parents. After an impoverished childhood he moved to California in the early 1920's where he began a career as a Hollywood bookkeeper. His hard work and "nothing is impossible" philosophy eventually propelled him to the position of Chief of Production for MGM Studios. Among the many successful films Cohn produced in his career it is a character from The Wizard of Oz that would eventually come to signify his life's work.
In 1945 John Daniel Jr., owner of Inglenook, convinced his neighbor J.J. Cohn to plant 80 acres of Cabernet on his Rutherford property. Cohn had purchased the land a few years prior as a summer retreat for his wife and family and had never considered grapegrowing or winemaking. John Daniel Jr. however, recognized the enormous potential of the deep loam soils and promised to buy all the fruit. The rest is history and J.J. Cohn Estate fruit has become highly sought after by reknown estates such as Opus One, Niebaum-Coppola, Duckhorn, Insignia and Etude. In addition to remarkable soils this is partly because of Cohn's desire to buck trends. In the 1960's when most Napa vineyard owners were re-grafted from St George rootstock to the supposedly superior AXR1 Cohn did not. It was eventually discovered that AXR1 was not nearly as resistant to phylloxera but by then all the St George rootstock vines has been destroyed and only the original 1945 J.J. Cohn vines survived. Today, the "Old Men" as they are affectionately called continue to produce uncommonly rich fruit - the hallmark of Scarecrow wine.
Today it is J.J. Cohn's grandson Bret Lopez and his wife Mimi DeBlasio who champion the history of this fabled estate which Robert Parker has dubbed the equivalent of a French Grand Cru. After achieving personal success in creative and artistics fields they have settled on the Rutherford estate and assembled a passionate team to craft this very special wine that is Scarecrow. Vineyard manager Michael Wolf and winemaker Celia Welch have been with the project since it's inaugural release in 2003.