Passion: strong or barely controllable emotion; an intense desire or enthusiasm for something
What is your passion? Do you pursue your passion with passion or do you put it in a box in the corner only to wish you had more time for it? Perhaps you take it out and dust it off every now and then only to put it away again for another day. Is your work your passion? It seems few people are blessed to pursue their passion in their daily lives. More often it seems people’s passions are their hobbies but their work takes up so much of their time. What do you think would happen if you allowed your passion to live freely? What would you do to pursue it? Sell everything? Move anywhere? Well that’s exactly what Jason Moore did and it is paying off in spades!
Jason Moore is the founder, owner, and winemaker at Modus Operandi. Jason grew up in Dallas, Texas. As a young man he worked as a waiter in a few of Dallas’ top restaurants. As he learned the art of food and wine his passion for wine grew. Thankfully Jason worked for people who could see his passion for wine and though he was not even legally old enough to drink they introduced him to some of the world’s top Bordeauxs, Burgundys, and big Napa reds. Over time Jason married and began working the Dallas real estate license, but Jason’s heart was restless and his wife knew it. One day she told him she knew he had a strong desire to make wine and he did not have a passion for real estate so she suggested they sell everything they owned and move to California where Jason could attend UC Davis and pursue his passion. But that’s not even close to the end of the story.
For some, determining ones true purpose in life is accomplished thru following the path of least resistance, and thus relinquishing to passion.
The night before they were scheduled to move they had very little money and were concerned about paying a deposit on an apartment. However, it was also Jason’s last night to wait tables in Dallas and in his section sat two parties: one was large, wealthy, and there to impress their guests with very expensive wines; the second was a young urban professional wanting to impress his date. Both parties ordered very expensive wine and Jason left Dallas on the road to CA with a nice wad of cash! Divine Providence for sure!
Jason struggled at UC Davis. He had been studying wine making theory for years in Dallas and was ready for a more hands on experience. One day at a wine Napa Valley wine tasting he met Tom Thompson. Tom owned some vineyards and a small processing facilities. Long story short Jason spent two years making wine out of Tom’s vines in Tom’s garage. This was exactly the hands on experience, time, and trial and error opportunity Jason needed to prepare for the next big step! Jason started Modus Operandi during the US financial recession. It was a tough time to start a winery and build a name but Jason persevered. Modus Operandi’s first vintage 2004 was released in 2006 to moderate success. Today Modus Operandi is a well-known boutique Napa Valley wine brand with production totally 1500- 1800 cases annually; Jason’s next marker goal is to produce 5,000 cases annually. After tasting Jason’s wines I believe he is on the way to achieving this goal soon. Jason is a completely self-made winemaker. He is mostly self-taught, though he had some important mentors along the way. He has no formal schooling in viticulture and no formal training. He simply pursued his passion with everything in him! He is a rock star wine maker and a great story of perseverance. I am super impressed with his wines; here are the wines I sampled:
2014 Sauvignon Blanc: This wine poured a delicate gold into the glass; aromas of fresh picked oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, melons and peaches literally came billowing out of the glass with a quick swirl; no need to stick your nose in this glass as the fruits jump out to greet you; truly dazzling springtime in a glass aromas that follow through on the palate with added grassy notes; creamy texture yet crisp, more weight than your typical Sauv Blanc with round penetrating acidity that leaves the mouth watering and begging for another sip. The 2008 vintage was served at the 2009 White House state dinner. 10 barrels produced; SRP $33. One of the best Sauvignon Blancs I have ever had!
2012 Vicarious: This wine poured a deep ruby into the glass; a blend of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot; juicy red fruit, soft spice, touch of smoke, licorice, dark chocolate, vanilla; meaty wine that is a sure crowd pleaser; fun and lively on the palate with lots of flavors that continue to develop over time; smooth mouth-feel, well balanced, depth and length with well integrated tannins, easy to drink and enjoy; a wine crafted for immediate consumption; SRP $R45
2012 Vanquish: This wine was crafted of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and poured a deep garnet with ruby hues into the glass; deep black fruit, spice, dusty earth, eucalyptus, dark chocolate, and tobacco penetrate the nose; it had a lovely rustic quality to it with great structure, round acidity, slightly more persistent tannins, full body, lingering finish; this was my overall favorite of the reds because I love the dusty earth, rustic quality that was so beautifully balanced with the fruit; a truly well-crafted wine; aged in 2nd use French barrels, SRP $75
2012 Modus Operandi: This wine was crafted from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from 2 vineyards in Napa Valley and poured a rich garnet into the glass; aromas of predominately black fruit with a touch of red berries, spice, licorice, and pepper; rich and refined on the palate, an elegant wine with round acidity and well integrated tannins; fully body and lingering finish. 100% new French oak; SRP $100
2012 Antithesis: This wine was crafted of two grapes that are an antithesis of each other: Merlot and Petite Sirah; understated elegant aromas of juicy red fruit, milk chocolate, spice, tobacco fill the glass and tango across the palate, supple texture with silky smooth tannins and round acidity create a lush mouth-feel; full body, lllloooonnnnngggg finish; really high quality wine crafted in a completely unique fashion. This wine is only produced in years when Jason’s “reverse saignée” technique works with the timing of harvest. This wine has an untraditional skin contact ratio; Jason not only bleeds the juice to increase the skin to juice ration but he actually adds additional skins towards the end of fermentation to further increase the ratio, creating a wine that is lush, extracted, juicy and round. The exact percentages of the blend is unknown, suffice it to say there is about 3-5% Petite Sirah added; being predominately Merlot this wine does not taste like any Merlot you have ever had. It is elegant and powerful. As part of Jason’s proprietary “reverse saignée” technique the grapes are hand sorted down 4 times to ensure only the finest grapes create the Antithesis. 4 barrels produced SRP $150 but worth much more.
Jason’s story is inspirational. We are all so conditioned to follow our heads, logic, safety; but Jason broke those rules and followed his heart. Today he has a wonderful wife, daughter and a very successful winery all because he took the leap of faith and followed his passion. I strongly encourage you to visit the Modus Operandi web site to learn more about Modus Operandi, view their entire portfolio of wines, schedule a visit and order some wines for yourself.
My Song Selection: It was a pleasure to meet Jason and taste these wines at the North Dallas location of Capital Grill. Because I was able to hear Jason’s story and taste the wines in person with him I was able to ask him the name of his favorite band or song. It was a perfect pairing because Modus Operandi wines totally rock!
Get your own bottles of Modus Operandi wines and let me know what song you pair with them. Cheers!
10 responses to “Modus Operandi: Guided by Passion”
Jason might be my new American wine hero without tasting a drop of his wines! How inspirational to read of someone throwing off the lines to live his passion. It must have been terrifying at times–I am so happy to read of people like him making it big. Bravo Jason! Now I must get my hands on that Merlot…and the Sauvignon Blanc!
He is very inspirational! And the Sauvignon Blanc—WOW! Cheers Robyn!
Great read and rendition of this great night we shared with Jason & his incredible wines. Great story of inspiration & drive!
Thank you Terry! It was a fun night! Jason is very inspirational
Next time I’m in Napa, I’ll have to check MO out! Thanks for sharing!
I hope you do Martin. He is now making his wines at Cairdean Estates. I would love to hear your thoughts. Cheers.
I just LOVE this story and that you got to meet Jason! If we all only followed our passions, right? And I’ll keep an eye out for that Sauvignon Blanc, it sounds impressive!
Kathryn the Sauv Blanc was truly fantastic! Cheers
Love stories of people Pursuing their passion!
What a great story! Hope to try them at some point.