Josh Wine Brand Review: Does it Live Up to the Hype?

Josh Wine is better known as Josh Cellars. The company is a big player in the wine business and they sell millions of bottles of wine each year. However, have they always dominated the wine market? The answer is no, but they are an example of how failure can lead to success. They had quite a shaky start in the business some years ago.

The man who developed the brand is Joe Carr who developed it almost two decades ago. At that time he worked at a French restaurant and this was where he discovered his love of wine. He developed wine lists in the restaurant but was hesitant to start his own business. When 9/11 happened, he decided that he shouldn’t wait as life was too short. He believed that you need to make the most of each day in your search for your dream. Unfortunately, his financial backers, Freemark Abbey, filed for bankruptcy in 2006. Four years later, Josh Cellars partnered with Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits and they were back in business. 

We will take a look at the brand in this review, in particular, the quality of wine produced and the different varieties.

Does a Wine Brand or Label  Matter?

Perhaps you don’t bother looking at the brand or label of the bottle of wine you are buying. Yes, quality wines often come from easily recognised brands, but it’s still worth reading the labels of lesser-known brands as you might just find a gem. 

Branded wines don’t come from certain areas or grapes. Instead, they get grapes from different regions and vineyards. They generally don’t have their own vineyards as do terroir wines. 

Does it Matter if a Wine is a Label or Brand Wine?

There is some snobbery surrounding brand wine. Some people will only buy terroir wine. Family-owned vineyards tend to only produce a few varieties of grape and the wine isn’t mass produced like brand wines. Brand wines, which are also called commodity wines, are also generally less expensive than terroir wines. 

To summarise, brand wines have the following attributes;

  • They are also known as commodity wines
  • They are not tied to one vineyard but they can buy grapes from numerous vineyards
  • They don’t have a single method of processing the grapes
  • They are reasonably priced so are good for a large gathering
  • They are sold mass-market so you can usually find them in your supermarket
  • They are usually enjoyed by people who aren’t wine connoisseurs

What is Terroir Wine?

Terroir wine is the opposite of brand or commodity wine. It is tied to a particular piece of land and the wineries are often run by a family. Quite often, these wineries offer tours and tastings, as well as an opportunity to buy their wine. Sometimes they only sell their wine to specialised wine shops, rather than the local supermarket.

Terroir wine has the characteristics of the land where the grapes are grown. You won’t get these characteristics at a different vineyard on different land. In French, the word terroir means ‘a sense of place’. This means that the wine produced belongs to the area where the vineyards are. The taste of the wine is affected by the soil and the climate of the vineyards.

Let’s take a quick look at the types of soil the vineyards have and what the wine tastes like.

  • Clay Soil – Grapes that are grown in clay soil produce wine that is quite heavy, robust, and rich. An example of wine produced in clay soil is Tempranillo which comes from Spain.
  • Loam soil – Wine produced from grapes grown in loam isn’t generally as flavourful as wines that come from other soils. 
  • Silt Soil – Wines from silt soil have low acidity and are smooth.
  • Sandy Soil – Wines that come from sandy soils are low in tannins. 

Climate also affects the taste of the wine so we’ll take a look at the differences between warm climate wines and cool climate wines.

Cool climate wines – These come from the north of Greece, Spain, Italy and France as well as from Chile, New Zealand, and Germany. These wines have the following attributes:

  • Low acidity
  • Tartness

Warm climate wines – These come from southern Italy, France, Spain, and France, as well as the Greek islands, South Africa, Australia, and Argentina. These wines have the following attributes;

  • High acidity
  • Fruity flavours

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Brand Wine vs Terroir Wine

Both brand and terroir wines have a place in the wine industry. Terroir wines are usually more expensive than brand wines because they have a distinctive taste. You get what you are expecting when you buy a terroir wine. For example, take a Chardonnay or a Merlot. If they are terroir wines they have similar characteristics to terroir wines from a different winery. However, if you buy a brand Merlot or Chardonnay, they can vary in flavour. This is because the grapes come from different vineyards and they may be produced in different ways.

This said, there’s certainly nothing wrong with brand wines and there are many out there that are very drinkable. They are also affordable so if you are hosting a party, they are a good choice as you may have to buy in bulk. In addition, you might not want to pay double or even triple for a bottle of wine for everyday occasions. Brand wines are also easier to find. Just pop into your local grocery store or supermarket and you will be presented with a good selection. 

How to Tell if a Wine Brand is Good

Brand wines do vary in quality so it is a good idea to do some research into the brand before purchasing. Nowadays, with the internet, this is easy. Here’s a list of criteria you need to consider when choosing a brand like Josh Cellars.

Company history

Company reputation

  • Read customer reviews
  • Read professional reviews if available

Look at the price of the wines and compare them to similar brands

Deciding which wine to choose

  • What types of wine are on sale. Is there a big selection? Are there both red and white wines?
  • What types of grapes are used?
  • Where are the grapes grown? Do they come from different vineyards?
  • Where is the wine made and how is it produced?
  • What details about the wine are given on the label? It should tell you what flavours the wine has, the acidity, the temperature it should be kept at, and the foods to pair it with.
  • Has the wine been aged and if so, for how long?

How to purchase the wine

  • Can you order the wine online or is it available at the grocery store or supermarket? Can you buy it in an off-licence or wine merchant?
  • Can you visit the company? Do they do a wine tasting?

Should You Invest in Josh Cellars Wine?

We are now going to take a look at Josh Cellars and rate them according to the above criteria. We will then tell you if it is a brand worth buying.

Company History

We have already told you a little about the history of Josh Cellars. As we said, Josh Cellars was formed by the sommelier, Joe Carr. He produced his first wine in 2005, but due to unfortunate circumstances, Josh Cellars wasn’t launched until 2009. Believe it or not, at that time, Carr was selling his wine from the back of a van. Little did he know that he would eventually sell millions of bottles of his wine.

Josh Cellars took off when the celebrity chef, Bobby Flay, recommended the brand and started selling it at his restaurants.

In 2011, Carr went into partnership with Deutsch Family wine who is also partners with the Yellow Tail wine brand. From here, his company took off. 

Company Reputation

To determine the reputation of Josh Cellars, we need to look at both customer reviews and those of professionals. Their parent group, however, is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, has no filed complaints or reviews, and has no rating.

Here we are going to look at some of the reviews of Josh Cellars.

  • The Chardonnay 2019 has been one of their best products. 140 customer reviews were looked at and Josh Cellars received more than four out of five stars for this wine. 
  • Two different wines, the 2012 Legacy, which is a Merlot blend, and the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon were wines of the week on Wine Curmudgeon.
  • Many different years of Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc have had excellent reviews.
  • Unfortunately, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon only got three out of five stars from 40 customer reviews. 

From what we can see, Josh Cellars produces a pleasant, drinkable wine, but there is nothing exceptional about it. It is a wine best drunk when you are not celebrating anything special. It makes excellent everyday wine as the stars it received were between three and four, sometimes higher. 

How Expensive are Wines from Josh Cellars?

You can’t buy Josh Cellar wines from their website. You actually have to go to a grocery store. However, the website does direct you to your nearest store. All you have to do is put in your zip or postal code.

Prices vary from store to store, but if you want to compare prices it might do you good to look at the websites of different brands. Prices are, however, very reasonable, unlike many Terroir wines although there are a few options from Josh Cellars that are more expensive. 

Wines Offered by Josh Cellars

Josh Cellars doesn’t offer a large number of varieties of wine. In fact, they are less than 12. This is not a bad thing. They are concentrating on a selection of varieties so that they can make them the best they can. Of the 12, four are reserve wines which makes them slightly more expensive. 

  • Cabernet Sauvignon – This was the first variety of wine that Josh Cellars produced. It has the taste of cinnamon, blackberry, and toasted hazelnut. It goes well with red meat like beef, but you could even sip it after your meal with a chocolate or two. The grapes to make this wine come from different parts of California; Mendocino, Samoa, Napa Valley, and the Lake counties. 

Top choice – Josh Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2017. Apart from having the flavours of cinnamon, blackberry, and toasted hazelnut, this wine has hints of toasted oak and vanilla. It would go well with roast lamb.

  • Chardonnay – Chardonnay produced by Josh Cellars is a crisp wine. The flavours you will taste are peach and citrus as well as hints of honey. This wine goes well with chicken, pasta, shrimp, and vegetarian and vegan dishes. It isn’t too dry and suits those who like a fruity flavour.

Top choice – 2017 Chardonnay. This wine has been very popular. You can taste citrus and tropical fruits and there are hints of oak. Enjoy the flavours of lemon oil, creme brulee, and yellow peaches. The wine is light and bright and it’s not surprising that it’s one of the top sellers at Josh Cellars.

  • Rose – Josh Cellars rose wine is light and fresh, just the drink you would enjoy on a warm summer’s evening. The grapes used to make this wine come from the Northern and Central interior vineyards. It has the flavour of nectarines, strawberries, and peach.

Top choice – Josh Cellars Rose 2019. This wine has all the flavours mentioned above and is light and bright.

  • North Coast Sauvignon Blanc – This wine comes from the northern coast of California, such as Sonoma and the Lake counties/ The flavours include kiwi, green apple, and lemon. It is a light, crisp, and fresh wine, another wine to be enjoyed on a warm summer’s evening. 
  • Central Coast Pinot Noir – This is a rich wine accompanied by lighter toasted notes. It tastes like strawberries and cherries and is an ideal wine to accompany meat dishes. The grapes are sourced from Monterey and Santa Barbara as well as other central coast vineyards.

Top choice – Josh Cellars Pinot Noir Central Coast 2019. As well as the strawberry and cherry flavours, there is a hint of toasted oak. It is a great wine for a dinner party.

  • Legacy Blend – This is a blend of different red wines such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Josh Cellars does not specify which grapes were used or where they came from, but you can be assured a delicious wine. The wine tastes of cedar, cherry, and plums and is a great wine to have at a barbecue with lots of red meat. The wine has a slight peppery taste which goes well with barbecued food.

Top choice – Josh Cellars Legacy Red Blend 2019. This wine has a good body and is best served with red meat dishes. Opening the bottle, you should smell vanilla, pepper, plum, and blueberry. When you taste it, you will enjoy cherries and baked plums, as well as hazelnuts, toasted cedar, and roasted almonds.

  • Merlot – The grapes for this wine come mainly from Sonoma and Mendocino. The flavours are balanced well and include berries, milk chocolate, and vanilla. It is best served with pasta and cheese. 

Top choice – Josh Cellars Merlot 2018. This wine has balanced flavours of raspberries, blueberries and milk chocolate. If you take in the aroma, it has hints of vanilla and violets.

  • The reserve wines are bold, fruity, and have a hint of hazelnut. These wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Limited Edition Military Salute Lodi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, and North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon. There is also a crisp Chardonnay, North Coast Chardonnay.

Top Choice – Josh Cellars North Coast Reserve Chardonnay. This mouth-watering wine has flavours of lemon zest, peach, and vanilla and scents of citrus. It is crisp and fresh.

Is there something else you need to look at when you are deciding if to choose a Josh Cellars wine?

All of Josh Cellars wines come from grapes grown in different parts of California. Let’s look at the pros and cons of the brand. This should give you an idea of how good the wine is.


  • Strong history of sales. They sell around one million bottles a year.
  • Good customer reviews and ratings. Some varieties have received 4 stars.
  • Easy to find in local shops as well as dedicated wine merchants.
  • The wines are reasonably priced. They are a good choice for a party when you have to buy in bulk.
  • Classic flavour notes. The white wines are crisp and light, often with citrus flavours. The reds are fruity and are full of body.
  • On the labels, you will find tasting notes, food pairing suggestions and the best temperature to serve the wine at.
  • The wines are very drinkable.


  • Josh Cellars is partnered with a large company. They might not have as much say in their products as if they were independent.
  • There haven’t been expert reviews from wine associations.
  • They don’t tell you a lot about how the wine is produced nor how the grapes are selected.
  • There aren’t any specific vintage wines.
  • The wines are generally light without much complexity. 

Is Josh Cellars a Good Wine Brand?

The simple answer is yes if you are looking for a nice, pleasant wine and don’t want to spend a fortune. Perhaps you would choose a terroir wine when it’s just you and your partner, but when you are having a party or it’s just an ordinary weekday evening, Josh Cellars is very drinkable. 

The only important negative is that Josh Cellars doesn’t give any information on where the grapes were sourced. However, this is common with brand wines as the grapes come from different areas. They don’t produce terroir wines. These come from just one region and have a unique flavour. Josh Cellars wine isn’t as complex as terroir wines. 

However, Josh Cellars has a lot of pros going for them as we have mentioned. In the end, for the price you pay, you are getting a reasonable and very drinkable wine.

Recommendations for Specific Josh Cellars Wine

The best thing to do is to stick to varieties you like. If you generally like Chardonnay, try Josh Cellars Chardonnay. If you enjoy Merlot, try their Merlot. It is always a good idea to look at customer reviews.

However, we have chosen one wine that we think is one of the best Josh Cellars has produced –

Josh Wine Chardonnay 2017 – This is a superb wine. It is a crisp and fresh wine with an aroma of tropical fruits and citrus. The taste is remarkable. There are flavours of peaches, lemon oil, and creme brulee. It’s definitely a wine to try if you like Chardonnay.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many carbs are there in Josh Cellars wine?

White wine generally has fewer carbs than red wine and rose even less. Josh Cellars rose wine has 2.9g in 5 ounces. Their dry white wine varies from 3.05g to 5g in 5 ounces. The red wine has between 3.4g and 5.46g per 5 ounces.

Is Josh Cellars wine vegetarian or vegan?

No animal products are used to make the wine. However, gelatine is used in the fining process. This makes it neither vegetarian nor vegan.

What does Josh Cellars red wine taste like?

The red wines produced by Josh Cellars are delicious. Try their Cabernet Sauvignon. It tastes like herbs, bacon, berries, and coffee. The aromas are fruity.  Their Merlot tastes of toasted oak, plums, and cherries. 

What does Josh Cellars white wine taste like?

The Chardonnay is crisp and fresh. It tastes like citrus and fruit.


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