One of Colorado’s finest wine makers
World Class wine producer
Joe developed his wine palate at an early age in his fathers’ vast collection of fine wines in Carmel, IN. At Indiana University, he studied pre-med and started as a freshman on the University’s baseball team. A shoulder injury cut short his baseball career and after graduating as a scholarship athlete, he began to focus on Protein Chemistry. After working for Indiana University, Joe was recruited by the University of Colorado Health Science Center to aid in finding a cure for cancer. But once amongst the wild beauty of the Rockies Joe’s passion changed from Protein Chemistry to discovering this towering wilderness.
This young man from the flat lands answered the mountain’s eternal call, moving to the ‘the wildflower capital of Colorado’, Crested Butte were he began exploring the majestic West Elk Mountains by ski and mountain bike. There he met his lovely wife Shamai Mushen, an extreme skiing champion. Together they left for California to follow Joe’s, and increasingly Shamai’s, passion for wine. In a short time, Joe was promoted to Enologist at BR Cohn, an excitingly successful vineyard in the Sonoma Valley. Flowers Winery, legendary producers of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, recruited Joe to join them on the celebrated “True Sonoma Coast”.
Cy William Buckel, Joe’s first child was born during his time at Flowers. Rutz Cellars in the Russian River Valley was next for Joe as he continued to develop and refine his own philosophy and talents as a winemaker. Feeling that he was ready to start his own business, he established TAJ Cellars. This label now produces extraordinary wine from Sonoma County, CA typifying for Joe the very essence of California winemaking. When Joe heard of the opportunity to move to Colorado to make wine for a truly committed boutique winery, he was elated. August of 2008 found him creating his first vintage at Sutcliffe Vineyards.
Shamai and Joe have added a new member to their family since returning to Colorado; Kalyn Tsulamai Buckel joined the fray April 24, 2010. Joe is excited to make history at Sutcliffe Vineyards, by crafting World Class wines in beautiful, wild Colorado.