If you experience any difficulty in accessing content on Small Business Revolution, please contact us at 866.332.6127 or email us at , and we will make every effort to assist you.

Story #32Judd’s Hill WineryNapa, CA

If the wine ain’t good, we go hungry and my kids don’t go to college. It’s a family business, what can I say?

You could say wine runs in his blood. Judd Finkelstein was destined to run the small family winery ever since his father bought the vineyard and gave it its name. A name designed, he says, to “sucker him into the business.” As previous owners of a large commercial winery, the Finkelsteins had opened Judd’s Hill as a way to get back to the basics and embrace their true passion — winemaking.

Judd Finkelstein didn’t fully embrace the family business right away, instead working in the entertainment business. Deep into working on a movie project, Finkelstein realized he wasn’t truly happy and decided, “wine ain’t so bad.” Finkelstein ultimately came home to run the winery. From working in the garden and running the tasting room, to managing the bottle line, Finkelstein’s roles run the gamut.

As a small winery, Judd’s Hill’s biggest challenge is standing out among the fierce competition in the Napa Valley. Judd Finkelstein’s podcast, radio shows, and grape blending camps all enhance the winery’s visibility and reputation, while giving Finkelstein creative outlets beyond the winemaking itself.

“This is Napa Valley,” says Finkelstein. “We’ve got the grapes. We’ve got the technology. We’ve got the talent. [Owning a small business] can be scary sometimes, but luckily business has been good, and people always seem to like wine.”

  • A view of the small Judd's Hill winery, a two-generations-old winery in the heart of Napa Valley.

  • One of many awarded wines produced by Judd's Hill.

  • Winery owner Judd Finkelstein takes a sample of wine from one of the oak barrels at Judd's Hill Winery.

  • In a warm winter afternoon, Judd's Hill winery host Todd Rickhoff introduces Bruce and Joyce Huston to some of the excellent wines produced on the premises.

  • With 475 wineries in the Napa Valley, competition is fierce. In order to stand out, Judd Finkelstein focuses heavily on positive, approachable customer service.

  • Jorge Torres carries a pump for racking. "Soutirage" as the process is called in French, is a process in which wine is moved from one barrel to another in order to filter it. Judd's Hill Winery prefers their flavors to focus heavily on the fruit, so they reuse barrels in order to minimize the "woody" flavors.

  • Judd Finkelstein along with assistant winemaker Eric Lyman, winemaker Kenn Vigoda, and operations director Devin Joshua during the tasting session to decide the blend for this year's Judd’s Hill wines.

  • Judd's Hill Winery produces only 3,000 cases of wine annually.

  • Art and Bunnie Finkelstein founded Judd's Hill Winery in 1989 with a promise to keep production small in order to focus intimately on the winemaking process. Their son Judd Finkelstein now manages the family business with his wife.

  • Jesus Rivas takes a sample of wine from one of the barrels at Judd's Hill Winery in Napa Valley.

  • Devin Joshua, operations director at Judd's Hill tasting different barrel samples while deciding the blends for this year's production.

  • Members of the Judd's Hill Winery staff meet during the tasting season to decide the blend for this year's wines. Their decision will soon be what is on everyone's taste buds.

  • Prior to joining the family business, owner Judd Finkelstein worked in the entertainment industry. He brings that experience to the Napa Valley and hosts a weekly radio show every Tuesday morning on KVON Radio.

Business Details

Proprietor: Bunnie, Judd and Holly Finkelstein
2332 Silverado Trail Napa, CA 94558
PH: 707-255-2332 / Website
_ _ Back
To Top