Meet the Masters

Mel and Janie Master
Mel has been in the wine business ever since leaving school and he met Janie when they were only twelve and thirteen (she played the piano and he played the guitar!) and as they grew up together, they shared a passion for food and wine. They married at 19 and 20.
They left England to live in France in 1970 and started a company called Master Wines and began selling little known French wines in the USA. Mel was a pioneer in bringing great wine values to the USA from France.
Jordan Winery
In 1980 Mel and Janie left France and took on the task of opening and setting up all the marketing and PR for the new Jordan winery in Sonoma County, California, and Mel has been credited with the initial marketing success of Jordan. Mel was involved with all aspects of the winery from production to sales and marketing.
Jams in New York
After the success of Jordan, Mel and Janie left California for New York and got together with friend Jonathan Waxman (who was the first chef for Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California) and opened Jams (Jonathan and Melvyn’s). It was one of the hottest and most successful restaurants of New York in the 1980s and the first Californian-style restaurant. They sold the restaurant in the late 1980s and Mel and Janie returned to France.
Mel’s Bar and Grill in Denver
In early 1995 Mel, Janie and their son, Charlie, opened Mel’s Bar and Grill in Denver which was named by Esquire magazine as one of the Top 25 new restaurants in the USA and was featured in a five page article on the restaurant in the February 1998 issue of Food and Wine magazine. Mel’s was also acclaimed in Gourmet, Bon Appetite and other national publications.

Present Day
Mel and Janie, together with their son Charlie, now spend their time sourcing and promoting the family wines of Tortoise Creek, Tiamo, Le Charmel, Exem and Mont Gravet. 

Tortoise Creek is an outstanding line of varietal wines that have been sourced from vineyards predominately in the Lodi region of California. They put great importance to sustainable practices in both the vineyard and winery and the large majority of Tortoise Creek wines are certified sustainable. The wines all represent the purist possible examples of single varietal wines and all are remarkable value. Wines are line priced at $11.99 retail.

Cabernet Sauvignon “Cherokee Lane”
This Cabernet Sauvignon is loaded with aromas and flavors of red and black cherries supported by vanilla and cedar nuances. It is beautifully balanced with both fruit and tannins.
“Cherokee Lane” pays tribute to the old stretch of Highway 99 running through the town of Lodi and surrounding vineyards. More Information
Chardonnay “Jam’s Blend”
Lodi, California
The “Jam’s Blend” Chardonnay boasts bright, fresh aromas and flavors of citrus, pear, apple, and white flowers. Its creamy texture is supported by fresh acidity and a long, clean finish. Ideal as an aperitif or with poultry, salads, cream based pastas, and softer cheeses. “Jam’s Blend” refers to Janie and Mel Master, the creators of Tortoise Creek. More Information
Zinfandel “The Chelonian”
Lodi, California
No other variety represents the region of Lodi like Zinfandel. Over 100 years ago European settlers believed it to be the best fit for the climate and soils and their keen insight paid off. “The Chelonian” has a lovely spicy, cherry-like bouquet and is bursting with sweet, berry flavors. There are also delicious overtones of blackcurrant and plums, with a welcoming finish of vanilla and cinnamon toast. “The Chelonian” refers to the genus of tortoises and turtles. More Information
Pinot Noir “Mission Grove”
This wine has lovely aromas of violets and ripe cherries. It is soft on the palate, delicate, but with delightful impressions of raspberries and other red fruits. More Information
Merlot “The Revivalist”
Clarksburg, California
This Merlot is full of fresh, bright aromas and flavors of red and black berries, cherries and herbs. It is round, rich, and ripe with soft tannins. More Information