Starting up a winery is on the bucket lists of many.
But this Fond du Lac native actually did it.
Joel Templin, who now lives in San Francisco and co-owns a branding and graphic design firm called Hatch Design with clients like Starbucks and Apple, partnered with two others to form JAQK Wine Cellars in 2008.
Each vintage contains grapes carefully sourced from well-known vineyards in Sonoma and Napa, including Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. Craig MacLean and Katie Jain (his partner at Hatch) are Templin's partners. Serving as JAQK Cellars' winemaker, MacLean got his start as a harvest intern at Chappellet Vineyard in Napa Valley, moving on to become assistant winemaker under the highly acclaimed Bob Foley at another Napa winery (Markham Vineyards).
While making wine at Cain Vineyard & Winery one of his releases earned 93 points from Wine Spectator; a vintage he created at Spring Mountain Vineyard snagged a number 17 ranking of the top wines in the world.
JAQK Cellars' wines – which have a strong casino-gaming theme with hip, creative packaging thanks to Templin's strong design background – recently arrived in Wisconsin and are available at select retailers and restaurants. This Friday they will be poured during a two-hour tasting from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Three Cellars in Franklin, charging just $5 per person and led by the winery's national sales manager, David Dees.
Can't make the tasting in Franklin? In the Milwaukee area, JAQK Cellars' wines are sold at Discount Liquors locations, Three Cellars and Jeff's Spirits on Main in West Bend. They are also poured at Gailioto's in Cedarburg, Balzac Wine Bar on the East Side of Milwaukee, Indulge in the Third Ward, The Union House in Genesee Depot, Blue Mound Golf and Country Club and Flannery's Bar & Restaurant near Cathedral Square in downtown Milwaukee.
Or, sign up for the wine club – dubbed "The Society of the Tipsy King" – with different membership levels that tie back to the gaming theme (such as, "The Spade Level," which includes 12 bottles each quarter).
If in downtown San Francisco, don't hesitate to drop into the winery's new "urban tasting room" – which also has a rooftop lounge. For a $35 tasting fee, on the third Wednesday of each month, wines are paired with local meats, chocolates, fruit, artisan breads and cheese. What's not to love about that?