Growing up in Peoria, Illinois, James and Mark were as close as any two brothers could be and were often referred to as the Blanchard boys. However, as they grew into adulthood, differences of opinion and ideology drew them apart. James, the elder brother, went into the Air Force and became a military officer and helicopter pilot who served two tours in Iraq. Mark studied poetry and creative writing, focusing on authors who had protested the Vietnam War. It seemed the two could not be more different in every way and this rift was a strain on the entire family. Then, over a Christmas visit, the two brothers discovered that they did have something in common- a love of fine wine. From this one shared interest came the very small production, limited availability, high quality wines of Blanchard Family Wines. Today, James and Mark are once again as close as two brothers can be, working together with their families to create these handcrafted artisan wines.
About the Consulting Winemaker:
Jene Chapanar, the winemaker at J. Cole, focuses on super small production wines, specifically Syrah and Zinfandel. He was first introduced to wine by his mother, whose family name is Cole, and who provided his inspiration to begin winemaking. For the last thirty years, despite focusing on a competing career, Jene has diligently dedicated himself to learning everything he can about wine. According to Jene he makes wines that are “handcrafted in small lots, affordable, full-figured wines aged in French oak and bottled unfiltered and unfined. This important process means what goes into the bottle is the true essence of each grape, which in turn, makes a better tasting wine”.