Alisa Jacobson of Turning Tide Wines Launches “AJ” and “Rare North” Labels Adding Nationwide Support form Skurnik and Third Leaf

From the vineyard to the cellar, to the sea

Santa Barbara County, CA – Alisa Jacobson’s Turning Tide Wines introduces “AJ” and “Rare North”, two new high-quality, value-driven wine brands representing Jacobson’s two winemaking homes. The “AJ” portfolio allows Jacobson to lean on her California roots, while the Rare North label showcases her talents in the Willamette Valley using grapes from the Halona Woods Vineyard. Jacobson farms the Halona Woods site with vintner John Wagner (Peake Ranch, John Sebastiano Vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills/Santa Barbara County) in Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon AVA.

Founded during the pandemic, the “AJ” brand enters the market with competitively priced wines made from sustainably and organically farmed grapes. Sourced from throughout the Golden State, the “AJ” portfolio represents well-made, approachable wines that are well-balanced and food friendly. “My goal with “AJ” is to produce the kinds of wines that my family and friends enjoy daily at the dinner table. They’re ready to drink upon release and immensely quaffable. It was also important for me to make wines that are affordable, especially during these times.” 

Established with the 2021 vintage, a warm year in Oregon, Rare North is a collaboration between Jacobson and Sean Best, a Santa Barbara-based graduate artist from the Art Center College of Design of Pasadena. Representing the intersection of visual art and the art of science, Best was inspired by all the geographic wonders in the Pacific Northwest to create a label showcasing the vibrancy of the landscape filled with rivers, unique thermal patterns, and its ancient mix of soils deposited by historic floods. The name of the wine is inspired by the Willamette River, which traverses a Rare northward flow through the Willamette Valley. Grapes are sourced from the Halona Woods vineyard in the new Mount Pisgah, Polk County, Oregon AVA, inclusive of both of Oregon’s famous soils, Belpine and Jory. 

To assist Jacobson with nationwide distribution of these new labels and her existing Turning Tide Wines, Jacobson has partnered with Skurnik Wine & Spirits Purveyors and Third Leaf Wines.  Based in New York, Skurnik was founded in 1987 by Michael Skurnik and represents wine and spirits worldwide. Some of the brands in their esteemed book include Selbach-Oster, Lieu Dit, Isabelle Garrault, Domaine Rolet Pere et Fils, Strub, and Rhys Vineyards. “I’m grateful and excited to be working with Michael and Harmon Skurnik and their entire team. I was drawn to Skurnik because it is still a family-owned business, and at every level, the entire team stands behind the wines they represent. They have what I believe to be one of the finest sales books globally, and I’m thrilled that my story will be part of it.” 

Bob Guinn, Vice President, Third Leaf Wines, says of the new partnership with Jacobson that “We quickly came together because of who AJ is, what she has done in her career, and her vision for what she is trying to do now.” Third Leaf, which has a small, but growing portfolio of global brands, makes its first foray into the Santa Ynez Valley with Jacobson, and will assist in presenting the AJ and Rare North wines to the on- and off-premise nationwide. “AJ’s ability to make wines that over-deliver at all different price points and of different styles really is an exciting piece of the wine business,” says Guinn, “and AJ’s work in sustainability and climate change is a holistic story we believe will resonate with buyers.” 

About Turning Tide Wines

Alisa Jacobson established Turning Tide Wines in 2018. “I’m all about environmentally conscious farming, carbon capturing, and regenerative agricultural practices,” says Jacobson. “All the vineyards I work with are farmed in an environmentally conscious manner to protect water purity and to encourage soil and vine health. I never employ the use of chemical herbicides because of the harmful effects they have on groundwater and soil health. I work tirelessly to promote and encourage the biodiversity of native plants and beneficial insects in the vineyards. To that end, I eschew the use of hazardous pesticides and use only organic material that doesn’t harm humans or the health of the environment of the vineyard.”

Turning Tide wines are then packaged with lightweight recyclable glass bottles for reduced packaging and transportation cost. The labels are made from recycled paper, responsibly sourced at a progressive sustainable mill in the US. The label ink is compostable, the label coating is “earth coating”; not made of any plastic. Closures are natural cork closures and not covered with foil which creates extra waste. “I believe sustainability is a path, not a destination and each year I strive to use less waste and be more energy and resource-efficient,” says Jacobson.

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