Tortoise Creek Vineyards

Mel and Janie Master
Founders - Master Wines

Mel and Janie are from England but are both now US citizens. Mel has been in the wine business ever since leaving school and he met Janie when they were only twelve and thirteen (she played the piano and he played the guitar!) and as they grew up together, they shared a passion for food and wine. They married at 19 and 20. The couple left England to live in France in 1970 and started a company called Master Wines and began selling little known French wines in the USA. Mel was a pioneer in bringing great wine values to the USA from France.

In addition to promoting small estates from the South of France and pioneering the wines from the Rhône Valley, Mel was also the person who introduced and promoted the wines of Georges Duboeuf in the USA. While living in France in the 1970s, Mel also coauthored the first major work on the wines of the Côtes du Rhône. It was published by Faber and Faber and the coauthor was John Livingstone Learmonth. Mel became one of the foremost authorities on the wines from the Rhône and Southern France.

In 1980 Mel and Janie left France and took on the task of opening and setting up all the marketing and PR for the new Jordan winery in Sonoma County, California, and Mel has been credited with the initial marketing success of Jordan. Mel was involved with all aspects of the winery from production to sales and marketing.

After the success of Jordan, Mel and Janie left California for New York and got together with friend Jonathan Waxman (who was the first chef for Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California) and opened Jams (Jonathan and Melvyn's). It was one of the hottest and most successful restaurants of New York in the 1980s and the first Californian style restaurant. Mel and Jonathan also opened Buds and Hulots in New York and later Jams in London.

Mel started work again in the wine business in 1992 and introduced a line of varietal wines from the Languedoc district of the South of France into the USA market under the label Les Jamelles. He was the first person to start promoting and selling single varietal wines from France. He sold Les Jamelles in early 1996 and two years later began Tortoise Creek.

Read More


Tortoise Creek 'Mission Grove' Pinot Noir 2017
87  Wine Spectator 
Wine Spectator 87 "Fruity and lively, with cherry and plum flavors that feature notes of underbrush. Hints of white pepper show on the finish." Drink now. 8,000 cases made. —Kim Marcus   California AVA — 60% Clarksburg | 40% Monterey  "Pinot Noir is a grape variety that demands optimum growing
Item Number: 30629
Bottle:$10.95
Case: $131.40
BTL

Tortoise Creek 'The Chelonian' Zinfandel 2016
"No other variety represents the region of Lodi like Zinfandel. Over 100 years ago European settlers believed it to be the best fit for the climate and soils, and their keen insight paid off. Our Zinfandel “The Chelonian” has a lovely spicy, cherry like bouquet and is bursting with sweet, berry
Item Number: 30246
Bottle:$9.45
Case: $113.40
BTL

Tortoise Creek Merlot 2016
87  Wine Enthusiast 
Wine Enthusiast 87BEST BUY“This wine is very flavorful and unapologetically oaky, from the smoky aromas to the almost-sweet maple and brown-sugar flavors that blend with a jammy fruit character. It is quite deep in color, saturated in flavor but not overly full bodied.“ ~J.G.
Item Number: 29578
Bottle:$9.95
Case: $119.40
BTL

Tortoise Creek 'Cherokee Lane' Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
“This Cabernet Sauvignon is loaded with aromas and flavors of red and black cherries supported by vanilla and cedar nuances. It is beautifully balanced with both fruit and tannins. An ideal pairing with grilled meats, sausages or stews.“ ~winery notes
Item Number: 29475
Bottle:$9.95
Case: $119.40
BTL

Tortoise Creek Pinot Noir 2016
(1)
90  Wine Enthusiast 
Wine Enthusiast 90 'Best Buy' “This wine might be the best value available in California Pinot Noir. It has great varietal character in the aroma and follows through with tempting spice, red fruit and savory nuances on the palate. Black tea, red cherry and clove waft from the glass while cherry and

Tortoise Creek Merlot 2015
“This wine is full of fresh, bright aromas, with flavors of red and black berries, cherries, and herbs. It is round, rich, and ripe with soft tannins. An ideal pairing with grilled or smoked meats, burgers and pastas.” ~winery notes

Tortoise Creek Pinot Noir 2015
60% Clarksburg, 40% Monterey"Our Pinot Noir “Mission Grove” has lovely aromas of violets and ripe cherries and is soft on the palate, delicate but with delightful impressions of raspberries and other red fruits." ~winery notes

Tortoise Creek 'The Chelonian' Zinfandel 2015
(1)
87  Wine Enthusiast 
Wine Enthusiast 87 "Best Buy""Sweet-seeming fruit and maple flavors give a candy-like quality to this medium-bodied, ripe and soft wine. The vanilla and maple flavors meld nicely with rich raspberry and sweet cherry notes." ~J.G.

Tortoise Creek Mission Grove Pinot Noir 201
60% Clarksburg, 40% Monterey"Our Pinot Noir “Mission Grove” has lovely aromas of violets and ripe cherries and is soft on the palate, delicate but with delightful impressions of raspberries and other red fruits." ~winery notes

Tortoise Creek 'Cherokee Lane' Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
(3)
"The wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and was sourced from a single sustainably farmed vineyard in Lodi. Our Cabernet Sauvignon “Cherokee Lane” is loaded with aromas and flavors of red and black cherries supported by vanilla and cedar nuances. It is beautifully balanced with both fruit and tannins.

Tortoise Creek Merlot 2014
"Our 2014 Merlot is full of fresh, bright aromas and flavors of blackberries, cherries and herbs. It is round, rich and ripe with soft tannins. An ideal pairing with grilled or smoked meats, burgers and pastas." ~M.M.

Tortoise Creek 'The Chelonian' Zinfandel 2014
(1)
90  Wine Enthusiast 
Wine Enthusiast 90Best Buy"This full-bodied wine is fruit yumminess all the way through. It has wild berry aromas and flavors that feel pure and focused, and is soft and almost sweet in terms of mouthfeel. An essence of blackberry lingers on the finish." R.V.

Tortoise Creek 'The Chelonian' Zinfandel 2013
(3)
"No other variety represents the region of Lodi like Zinfandel. Over 100 years ago European settlers believed it to be the best fit for the climate and soils and their keen insight paid off. Our Zinfandel “The Chelonian” has a lovely spicy, cherry like bouquet and is bursting with sweet, berry

Tortoise Creek 'Cherokee Lane' Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
(2)
"Our Cabernet Sauvignon “Cherokee Lane” is loaded with aromas and flavors of red and black cherries supported by vanilla and cedar nuances. It is beautifully balanced with both fruit and tannins. An ideal pairing with grilled meats, sausages or stews." ~winery notes

Tortoise Creek Schoolhouse Cuvee Merlot 2013
CERTIFIED GREEN, Lodi Rules for Sustainable Farming"Our 2011 Merlot is full of fresh, bright aromas and flavors of blackberries, cherries and herbs. It is round, rich and ripe with soft tannins. An ideal pairing with grilled or smoked meats, burgers and pastas." ~winery notes

Tortoise Creek 'The Chelonian' Zinfandel 2012
(1)
90  Wine Enthusiast 
Wine Enthusiast 90Best Buy"This full-bodied wine is fruit yumminess all the way through. It has wild berry aromas and flavors that feel pure and focused, and is soft and almost sweet in terms of mouthfeel. An essence of blackberry lingers on the finish." ~J.G.

Tortoise Creek Schoolhouse Cuvee Merlot 2012
"The Tortoise Creek “The Revivalist” Merlot is sourced from sustainably farmed vineyards in the Delta AVA. Merlot is full of fresh, bright aromas and flavors of black- berries, cherries and herbs. It is round, rich and ripe with soft tannins. An ideal pairing with grilled or smoked meats, burgers

Tortoise Creek 'Cherokee Lane' Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
(2)
"Our 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon “Cherokee Lane” is loaded with aromas and flavors of red and black cherries supported by vanilla and cedar nuances. It is beautifully balanced with both fruit and tannins. An ideal pairing with grilled meats, sausages or stews." ~ Winery notes

Tortoise Creek 'The Chelonian' Zinfandel 2010
"Our Zinfandel comes from three well-managed vineyards in the Clements Hills and Lodi-proper areas near Sacramento and is a blend of 90% Zinfandel, 5% Tannat and 5% Petite Syrah. Our Zinfandel “The Chelonian” has a lovely spicy, cherry like bouquet and is bursting with sweet, berry flavors. There

Tortoise Creek Schoolhouse Cuvee Merlot 2011
"Our Merlot “Schoolhouse Cuvee” is full of fresh, bright aromas and flavors of blackberries, cherries and herbs. It is round, rich and ripe with soft tannins. An ideal pairing with grilled or smoked meats, burgers and pastas. Certification: The Lodi Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing is California’s