We had the good fortune of connecting with Janell Dusi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Janell, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Growing up in a farming family and fourth generation of vineyard farmers, I knew I wanted to take our farming to the next level and create something to enjoy from our family passion of farming. I wanted to hold onto my family heritage of growing amazing old vine Zinfandel, but to take it further and bottle some our own zinfandel under our family name on the label. I began very young with this interest, and begged my grandfather to teach me “the basics” of winemaking. After many years of home winemaking and working in other wineries here in California and in South Australia, I started J Dusi Wines. Purely using grapes that my family grows, I have built a winery that showcases the farming techniques and history of our multi-generational family business and now producing our own wines from those Vineyards. It makes me happy to realize my parents and siblings care about the land we grew up on and never want to sell or move, but instead stay rooted in this land and only take it further and share our hard work with people through a bottle of wine!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I am a female owner and winemaker in a male dominated industry. I am 100% hands on and grew up in a farming and labor intensive family, so hard work comes naturally! AS a family, we are still farming our own land and that is separate than the winery, so I love that I can help the family business of farming and purchase fruit to make into wine. I am the one up at dawn during harvest and start my days in the fields with the family business, then bring the grapes to the winery to make into wine. I believe my passion for preserving our family roots and heritage of farming while also accelerating it into a wine brand, I am bringing our heritage full circle. I have learned that in order to be a small family owned business with my name on the door, I am the face of the business and its important that I be present, on any given day you can find 1-4 family members around the winery in a multiple of tasks or sipping on wine. Our tag line on every bottle is “A family tradition, with a new perspective”
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Paso Robles is an amazing place! There are so many wonderful wineries, and different attributes at all of them. A short list of wineries to enjoy some outdoor wine tastings would be; Hope Family Wines, FullDraw, Villa Creek Cellars
Intermix these winery stops around noon time to do wine tasting along with lunch; Grey Wolf has a casual setting with great wines and awesome food. Rava, for their sparkling wines in a gorgeous setting with Absolute great casual food on the weekends. And Aron Hill Winery for a lunch spot with great views!
Wineries with caves that are cool; L’Aventure, Booker and Robert Hall
Head out the beautiful Vineyard Drive and stop to tasting at Paix Sur Terre, Brecon Winery, stop for olive oil tasting at Pasolivo Olive Oil Farm, and end at Tables Creek Winery.
Check out some other female winemakers at Epoch Winery, Desperada, and
You cannot miss a trek around “Tin City” an area with multiple small wineries with tasting rooms, A Brewery, a cider house, Sheep milk ice cream and a great restaurant “Mcphees Canteen”
Visit quaint downtown Templeton and stroll around to Kitchenette for Breakfast or Lunch, wine tastings and vegetable shop At Natures Touch and definitely by 15 C Wine Bar for coffee, wine or a meal where you can also find some gems in their wine shop. Upstairs is their newly opened infrared yoga studio, VinYoga!
Downtown Paso Robles is blanketed with great restaurants to hit everyones pleasure; BL Brasserie, La Cosecha, Le Petite Canailles, Il Cortile, The Hatch and Alchemists Garden. On the casual side; Basil Thai, Orale Taqueria, Goshi for Sushi, and Fish Gaucho!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Bill Grant. My 14 year relationship partner, so feels more than a boyfriend, lol. He has been by my side since starting J Dusi Wines and constantly shows me how and wine is such a gift and fun experience. Billy is great with people and building relationships, and he has help me build our distribution in multiple states across the US. My father always told me, “making wine is the easy part, selling is the hard part”. Billy help me see how wine brings people together and should be fun and something to celebrate!