A Day In The Life Of Vintner & Restauranteur Joel Gott

Joel Gott, left, opens wine bottles at an event
Joel Gott, left, opens wine bottles at an event

Photo Credit: Joel Gott Winery

If you live in the Bay Area and enjoy food and wine, you’re most likely familiar with the last name Gott. Maybe you’ve seen it on the label of a bottle of red wine. Or perhaps you noticed it on a restaurant at the Ferry Building. The name also belongs to a man, Joel Gott, the mastermind behind the wildly popular Joel Gott wine label and beloved burger joint, Gott’s Roadside. Gott is a fifth-generation winemaker who grew up among the vines in Napa and the Sierra Foothills. He started his namesake wine label in 1996 and never looked back. In 1999, he opened a burger and milkshake stand in St. Helena. Today, there are seven locations of Gott’s Roadsides and all serve sensational cheeseburgers, addictive fries, and thick shakes. Since we are huge fans of Gott, we asked him to share more about his life. Here, in his own words, is a day in the life of Joel Gott.


Photo Credit: Joel Gott Winery

4:00 a.m. Email warfare.

6:00 a.m. I go for a bike ride or run.    

7:00 a.m. I eat breakfast, usually coffee and spelt bread toast with almond butter and fruit (whatever’s in season) and honey. Or I make breakfast for Sarah (my wife) and the kids which is often scrambled egg and avocado breakfast sandwiches.

8:00 a.m. I corral our three kids and get them out the door for school.

Gott's Roadside in St. Helena
Gott’s Roadside in St. Helena

Photo Credit: Gott’s Roadside

9:00 a.m. Head out to the Conn Valley to check in with our ranch manager on various projects and the garden out there. We have a huge garden with lots of fruit trees. I like to see what produce he’ll be delivering to the office that week.

10:00 a.m. I drive to the office and check in with my team. The Joel Gott Wines office is right next to the Gott’s Roadside office in St. Helena. Usually, I’m running late to a meeting, but if not, I’ll pop into everyone’s office to say hi, see what they’re working on, and answer any questions they have for me.

11:00 a.m. I meet with Clay, the president of Gott’s Roadside, to check in on the restaurants, get an update on current specials (and test them!) and review any projects/updates/remodels that require my input.

Gott's wine
Gott’s wine

Photo Credit: Joel Gott Winery

12:00 noon If there’s no lunch meeting, I grab a bar from the office or have an egg salad sandwich from the local bakery. Sometimes I’ll try a new local restaurant if there’s time. It’s always good to see what other people are doing.

1:00 p.m. Meet with local architect Karen Jensen to go over our latest project to build out a kitchen to provide baked goods to the Gott’s restaurants.

2:00 p.m. I usually try to find a cookie (or chocolate) and a coffee at this time. A great chocolate chip cookie (Ann’s cookies) with a Gibraltar (or cortado) is the dream, but any combination of chocolate and caffeine works.

3:00 p.m. I meet with our CFO to review budget changes and sign any documents.

A Gott's burger
A Gott’s burger

Photo Credit: Gott’s Roadside

4:00 p.m. I review wine bottle artwork (an update to a current label) from a new graphic designer. I also see if there’s any other artwork updates that I need to sign off on.

5:00 p.m. More email warfare with help from my assistant.

6:00 p.m. I try to be home to make dinner with my family. We’ll do simple things like grill fish or prawns and make a salad, or have baguettes with fresh mozzarella, sliced heirloom tomatoes and some good prosciutto. Sarah and I usually drink rosé or Sauvignon Blanc at home.

9:00 p.m. I head to bed and catch up on news with my fancy new reading glasses.