Joe Harden, Winemaker, Nickel & Nickel
As Winemaker, Joe Harden oversees the production of Nickel & Nickel’s expansive portfolio of 100 percent varietal, single-vineyard wines from the Napa & Russian River Valleys. Prior to taking the helm of Nickel & Nickel in 2018, Joe served as an integral part of the Robert Mondavi winemaking team where he was the winemaker for Bordeaux varietals and oversaw production of the renowned To Kalon Cabernet Sauvignon wines. A Lodi native, Joe was entrenched in the wine business at an early age with a father who worked for a wine distributor and later became a winegower.
A talented athlete, Joe was offered a basketball scholarship to Division I Notre Dame University following graduation from high school. After a while however, he found himself missing California wine country and opted return to the golden state, continuing his passion for basketball and rediscovering his roots in wine. Harden completed of a Bachelor of Science degree in Viticulture and Enology at University of California, Davis in 2011, the 6’7’ college athlete put his oenology career on hold for a year while he tested the waters of a professional basketball career with the NBA D League Warriors in California and then the Ballarat Miners in Melbourne, Australia.
The rigors of the professional circuit, however, led to his return to California in 2012, where he began his internship at Robert Mondavi Winery under the tutelage of winemaker Geneviève Janssens. He advanced to enologist in 2013 and was eventually named winemaker there in 2014.
Utilizing his distinctive background to lead the single-vineyard winemaking program at Nickel & Nickel, Joe is able to further expand upon the innovative mission established at the winery with its founding in 1997.
When he is not making wine, Joe resides in Yountville with his wife Hannah, also an alum of the UC Davis basketball program. Together they enjoy cooking, reading, brewing beer and biking and of course, the sharing of fine wine with friends and family.