A Fascination for Fermentation
Harmony Wine Co. opened for business on April Fool’s Day 1987. In 1989, Equinox sparkling wine was born with their first harvest made at friends Pam & Steve Storrs winery in Santa Cruz only to lose half to the violent jolts of the Loma Prieta Earthquake. In 2006 Barry and Jennifer opened their own on-site Santa Cruz facility to expand their own wine production with hands-on services to consult for and assist other wineries who wanted to produce sparkling wines under their own label.
Barry and Jennifer Jackson were born in Fresno County, surrounded by agriculture but fell in love with the rich historic Santa Cruz Mountain winegrowing region and the eclectic independent winemakers they met there.
Throughout the 70’s Barry married and worked his way through college at Fresno State University. Out of curiosity he enrolled in a number of oenology classes and to his pleasure and surprise, it focused and lit his imagination on fire.
Following graduation, he worked for large valley wineries including the Paul Masson facility in Madera. He eventually transferred to their corporate headquarters in Saratoga but after the dismantling of Paul Masson by corporate raiders, Barry and Jennifer decided it was time to make a commitment to join the winemaking community in their ongoing stewardship of its future.
More About Barry
- Barry’s family is originally from the Isle of Aaron off the coast of Scotland where until the early 1970’s, over 50 illegal distilleries were in operation
- Barry earned many merit badges and almost made Eagle Scout until he discovered “girls” which proved to be a distraction
- Barry’s little brother Darren (6’7”) also works in the business of winemaking in the Monterey County
- Barry’s mother Dot loves to taste test his wines and is working as an unpaid consultant
Barry Jackson is not just a maker of wine, but a lot of mischief too. Before making bootleg applejack in high school, he made a great deal of mischief in Boy Scouts which resulted in his expulsion from camp one year. This was not limited only to the scalping of candy bars, sinking an “unsinkable” canoe or to the utter horror of all but a few, to see a very lively scorpion systematically striking all the other small animals placed under a bucket and collected for a fun filled critter race (technically, it was not cheating).
Boy Scouts and applejack aside, Barry enrolled in Fresno State University to obtain a degree in geology, worked full-time in a wine shop and near the end, discovered and enrolled in enology classes. With encouragement from his wife and professors, he got his degree but changed his career path with no turning back.
Many years followed dragging hoses as a cellar rat in Central Valley facilities and running endless lab tests before he ventured into self-employment as a consultant and boutique wine producer. His consulting work led to the development of the San Ysidro, Santa Lucia Highland and Hames Valley AVA’s while also providing insight and advice to over 60 wineries.
During this time, Barry started to produce sparkling wine under the Equinox label but, not without difficulty. The first vintage was 1989, yes, that 1989. The Loma Prieta Earthquake struck hard, more that half of the base wine was in barrels which bounced from floor to ceiling, shattering into a pile of staves. Despite the setback, enough wine did survive and Equinox was finally born.
After many years of making Equinox another setback threatened to shut down production. The winery which Barry had been working out of was sold with all the custom sparkling wine equipment to be sold at public auction. Barry did acquire as much as possible but the next big problem that arose from this was, now we have it but where do we put it? In 2005 the perfect location was found on the west side of Santa Cruz and with this came the ability to produce custom sparkling wine for other wineries who could not make their own and also expand into the production of still wines under the new Bartolo label.