Vines in the Valley

MLB player Chris Iannetta uses an Atlas JSV to navigate the stunning landscapes of the Jack Winery vineyard, 2,100 feet up in the Atlas Peak Appellation of Napa Valley.

Napa Valley, California, is one of the most fertile pieces of land in the world. The sun rises over the mountains each morning, burning through the nighttime fog to shine light on millions of dew-dropped grapes in the valley below. It’s home to the most renowned vineyards in the world, and a great place to work, by any standard.

Chris Iannetta knows what a beautiful place Napa Valley is. He’s co-owner of Jack Winery, a boutique wine brand based in Napa Valley that has been growing in critical acclaim since its first vintage of cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc were produced in 2012. Though fruitful, the vineyard is not his only “office.”

Iannetta is also a Major League Baseball catcher. Since 2006, he’s played with the Colorado Rockies, Anaheim Angels, Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks. When he’s not holding down the infield, Iannetta is out in the field, using a Gravely Atlas JSV to navigate the stunning surroundings.

“It’s great to walk through the vineyard, see and touch the grapes, and revel in the breathtaking views,” he said. “We use an Atlas JSV to travel around the vineyard. Driving an off-road vehicle is a really a unique way to see Napa Valley.”

Iannetta started Jack Winery with his old Angels teammate, Vernon Wells, while they both spent a year on the IL (injured list) recuperating from injuries. The two discovered their shared love of wine while traveling the country from city to city, learning as much as they could along the way. They became such good friends that they started the winery together.

“We’re boutique vintners and we truly love what we do,” Iannetta said. “We didn’t just slap our name on a brand to mass produce wine, we value quality over quantity. It’s critical for us to be able to maintain the highest quality from vintage to vintage, while making it accessible for people to take the next step in exploring wine and what Napa Valley has to offer.”

FAMILY FORGED

Family is a reoccurring theme for Iannetta, and it’s where his love for wine was born. His family is from Italy, and after emigrating to the United States, his grandfathers kept up the tradition of making their own “garage wines.” They took gallons to social clubs, where they would drink and shar and argue about each other’s wines.

Wine was at the center of all of Iannetta’s family gatherings growing up, and he says it likely played a role in every major family decision. As it turns out, wine is also playing a role in his current family decisions. He and Wells have strived to keep family at the center of Jack Winery, passing both business acumen and a love of wine down to the next generation.

“Vernon and I bonded over a shared love of wine and family,” he said. “We even named the vineyard after our children, whose first initials start with J-A-C-K.”

Family also has a lot to do with Iannetta’s appreciation for AriensCo products. As a kid, Iannetta would clear his dad’s and uncle’s driveways and walkways with an Ariens snow blower, a model from the “60s or 70s” that reliably endured for decades. When it came time to purchase a new snow blower for his home a few years back, he again went with an Ariens, having grown up with the brand and developing a trust for it.

“Ariens Company is also family owned and operated, and the equipment is so good that it’s passed down for generations. It was a no-brainer for us to help continue that tradition when we bought the Gravely Atlas JSV,” Iannetta said.

VINEYARD VEHICLE

Getting around Jack Winery can be a challenge, so the company uses a Gravely Atlas JSV 6000 to navigate the vineyard’s rocky dirt roads and rolling hills. The Atlas JSV sees action year-round, in all types of weather and ground conditions. It has both the Jack Winery and Gravely logos painted on its sides, which Iannetta says “looks awesome!”

The Atlas JSV 6000 features a 1,900-lb total payload capacity, as well as an all-steel cargo bed that doesn’t buckle or bend under its 1,250-lb maximum load. It seats six people and boasts 18 cubic feet of cargo space, all atop a de Dion suspension that provides extra-smooth rides and maintains its ground clearance, even with loads at full capacity.

Iannetta said the Atlas performs extremely well in the vineyard, and that for the few years that Jack Winery has been using the JSV, the only maintenance it has needed is adjusting air pressure in the tires because of the region’s temperature swings.

“The JSV 6000 is a great vehicle for our needs at the vineyard,” he said. “It’s super quiet and we get around pretty quickly with it. My friends that are outdoorsmen think it’s pretty cool, and I think some of them are more excited by the JSV than the beautiful surroundings.”

08/27/2019 | Vines in the Valley

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