'Producing Delicious Wines Takes Hard Work,' Says Joseph Carr of Josh Cellars, American Winery of the Year | Wine Enthusiast’s 2021 Wine Star Awards | Wine Enthusiast
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‘Producing Delicious Wines Takes Hard Work,’ Says Joseph Carr of Josh Cellars, American Winery of the Year | Wine Enthusiast’s 2021 Wine Star Awards

Analyzing the trajectory of Josh Cellars, a California wine company founded in 2007, it’s hard to imagine another brand growing faster with greater success. Joseph Carr started Josh Cellars with one wine, sold from the back of his truck. Now, Josh Cellars produces more than four million cases per year.

In today’s competitive global market, such an achievement remains rare.

“Josh Cellars’ growth trajectory has been very impressive” says Lloyd Sobel, chief commercial officer at Breakthru Beverage Group. Sobel points to the brand’s “exciting digital platform, relevant innovation and fantastic story” as pillars of its market success.

The story of the brand, however, started with modest ambition. Carr wanted to pay homage to his father Josh Carr, a veteran and volunteer firefighter. He started with 1,200 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon in 2009, eventually adding a Josh Cellars Chardonnay. Josh Cellars soon became one of America’s fastest growing wine brands.

Carr attributes his success to his hardworking father.

“The commitment and values my dad instilled in me inspired me to make Josh Cellars,” says Carr. “Producing delicious wines takes hard work, but my dad wouldn’t have had it any other way.”

Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits took notice of Carr’s success. In 2011, Carr partnered with Deutsch to manage sales, marketing and winemaking for Josh Cellars, tapping Winemaker Wayne Donaldson to oversee production. In its first year with Deutsch the brand hit 150,000 cases, then doubled for several years then until 2015, when it scaled to 1 million cases in annual sales.

Since 2019, Josh Cellars has received nine 90-plus scores from Wine Enthusiast. Three selections from the 2019 vintage—the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Bourbon Barrel Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon—show this caliber.

“We are deeply honored by Josh Cellars being named Winery of the Year,” says Peter Deutsch, CEO at Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits. “It is a testament to the sacrifice, hard work and dedication of our winemakers, salespeople, marketing team, operation teams, our distributor partners and our many retail and restaurant customers. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the brand’s founder, Joseph Carr.”

Innovations helped drive that success. Keeping abreast of trends, Josh Cellars launched the Josh Reserve Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon and expanded its Italian sparking portfolio with the release of Josh Cellars Prosecco Rosé, just as the Consorzio di Tutela della Denominazione di Origine Controllata Prosecco, or Prosecco DOC Consortium, approved the pink Prosecco category.

This past year, Josh Cellars unveiled online ordering at JoshCellars.com, a pivot that built a direct bridge to customers.

Josh Cellars also gives back to its community. It supports causes Carr’s father valued, from military and veteran organizations, to out of work restaurant workers and healthcare providers. Thus far, Josh Cellars has donated more than $1 million to charity groups through direct donations and proceeds from annual charitable bottlings.

Some of the brand’s initiatives include supporting Operation Gratitude, a charity focused on lifting the spirits of deployed troops with care packages, and the National Volunteer Fire Council or other firefighter charities, to which Josh Cellars donates $1 from every bottle sold of its annual Reserve Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon. For its phenomenal success and community service, Josh Cellars is recognized as American Winery of the Year.

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