MJA Vineyards: Aloha, Coffee and Vino

Melissa Hobson 0 Comments

I love MJA Vineyards’ motto, “Handcrafting Aloha.” I think it represents who they are completely. MJA has an interesting story on how they started “Handcrafting Aloha.” To start, we need to talk about their founder, Marin John Artukovich.

Marin descends from a long line of winemakers from Croatia, though his first career was not in wine. It was only after Marin retired and moved to Hawaii, that he discovered that he had a knack for growing coffee beans, and he finally realized he wanted to be a winemaker.

Marin’s wine adventure began in 2008, when he bought vineyards in Napa to make his first wine under the label, “Serene Cellars,” producing both red and white still wine. But his adventure didn’t stop there, as his entrepreneurial instincts took over and now there are three labels under the MJA Vineyards umbrella. The grapes of Davine Cellars are from the Santa Cruz Mountains, which also produces red and white still wine, while grapes from MJA Vineyards come from Sonoma County, and produce sparkling wine.

My first trip to MJA was back in early 2017 during a Passport Day. The staff was so busy, we felt so rushed that we weren’t sure if we’d ever go back. My next trip to MJA Vineyards was in August 2017. My friends took me to Santa Cruz Mountain wineries for my bachelorette party, and we stopped at MJA Vineyards last since it’s open later than the other vineyards along Summit Road.

Upon arrival, we heard live music playing and loved that the outside tasting area was in the shade surrounded by redwoods. On this warm day, it was the perfect place to end our winery-filled day.

We walked up to the tasting bar and decided to split a bottle of MJA bubbles. All of us ladies love bubbles. Plus, who doesn’t love live music, bubbles and friends?!? We found a spot outside, far enough away from the musicians where we could chat, but still enjoy the music, and opened up some snacks.

My girlfriends and I enjoyed ourselves so much, that I came home and told Mr. Wine Cutie that we had to give MJA another try. I didn’t think it would take almost two years for that to happen. But hey, life sometimes gets in the way! :)

We recently made it back with our doggo, Jedi. This time we sat inside, as there were fewer distractions for Jedi. There was the standard live music outside. I was so excited to try the bubbles again. I vividly remember loving the sparkling wine and couldn’t wait to share them with my love. Instead of buying a bottle to split, we chose to taste the bubbles flight, three different sparkling wines, all from the Russian River. There are many different tastings to choose from, I bet there is a flight for everyone in your group.

The first bubbly was the MJA Brut, which smelled like apricots and pear, with a hint of creaminess. On the palate, it was crisp and tasted like a pear. The second sparkling wine was a blanc de blanc, which was my favorite of the day! It smelled so familiar, but both Mr. Wine Cutie and I were having a hard time putting our fingers on just what we were smelling. On the palate, we tasted crisp apricot, with some minerality. Yummy! The last wine of the day was a sparkling rosé, with peach on the nose, and a bit of funk. It was fruit-forward to taste, with peach standing out.

The Summit Tasting Room & Vineyards of MJA Vineyards is such a great place to end your winery filled day with a glass of wine. With three different labels from three different wine regions in California, there’s bound to be something for everyone in your group!

Until next time Cuties, keep tasting!

Melissa Hobson

I’m Melissa, a.k.a. Wine Cutie. I’m originally from the Philadelphia Area and moved to the Bay Area in 2016 with my now husband and doggo Jedi. These are my Wine Adventures.