Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Jasper Sisco: Southern Gentleman Meets Northwestern Terroir

Meet Justin Paul Russell – the man behind up-and-coming wine label Jasper Sisco. Using IndieGoGo, a crowd-funding source, he plans to breathe life into a dream five years in the making with his Jasper Sisco 2012 vintage.

The name, Jasper Sisco, is that of Justin’s great grandfather – the embodiment of community and a family man well known in his town on the opposite end of the country. He is the essence behind the label and its production as Justin will work closely with the community and with those he has come to call family so far away from his Southern home. Through such avenues as IndieGoGo, Justin hopes to create buy-in for and loyalty to the Jasper Sisco label, as well as a transparent, tangible, community-based product for his patrons.

Jasper Sisco label mock-up. Sisco is far right.

Momtazi Vineyards
A self-proclaimed “Southern Pinot Noir Dreamer,” Justin had lived in Virginia, Georgia and Alabama before making the big move out West to pursue his winemaking dreams, and he can still recall the bottle that piqued his interest: the Austin Hope Paso Robles ’06 Syrah. Approximately five years ago Justin was assisting with wine distribution working at Whole Foods in Birmingham, Alabama bringing in various wines of Northwestern terroir. There he began making connections to the Western wine world, most notably Tahmiene Momtazi of Maysara Winery, and the Momtazi family, who have become the core of his Willamette Valley surrogate kin. Since then, he has completed his Sommelier Certification and has plans to complete his Master Sommelier Certification in the near future.

His relationship with the Momtazi family and Maysara Winery in McMinnville has provided him with two years of harvest and crush experience, as well as opportunities to connect with other winemaking mentors like Andrew Rich of Andrew Rich Wines and Jim Prosser of J.K. Carriere Wines. Through careful observation, and of course tasting, Justin has carefully selected two areas of the Momtazi Vineyards from which to source his grapes for the inaugural Jasper Sisco vintage.

JPR w. Hanna & Naseem Momtazi

Justin has made a home for himself in NE Portland and commutes up and down the I-5 corridor several times a week, all the while holding a separate fulltime job, and building Jasper Sisco from the ground up. While his label is just barely in its first year, Justin ultimately plans to make his wine a little closer to home and join the urban winemaking roster a la PDX Urban Wineries once the label is on its proverbial feet. Want to join the Jasper Sisco community? Check out the Jasper Sisco blog for updates and be a part of Jasper Sisco history by making your contribution on the IndieGoGo page


Momtazi Vineyards


Thanks for the article, Megan. Great to see aspiring stories like this. I'm going to reach out to Justin next time we're in the area to grab beers and discuss start up winery operations.

Thanks, Christine! You should definitely reach out to JPR - he's great, and I can't imagine the kind of support it takes to get started...

It's on! We are planning to bring him down to Southern Oregon to show him what we have going on down here.

I can't wait! Let make some solid plans!

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