Our Story.

Our names are Jim and Gloria Zion and we would like to introduce you to a new to world craft Bourbon Whiskey we call Wicked Harvest Pistachio Bourbon Whiskey.  What makes our product unique is the perfect trifecta of aged Kentucky bourbon infused with whole California and Arizona pistachios in used California wine barrels.  It is this infusion, and finishing in wine barrels that will distinguish us in the world of spirits.  This smooth and highly approachable Bourbon Whiskey is excellent neat, on the rocks or as a base for numerous time honored classic cocktails or your own creation.

Gloria’s roots are in the world of education.  She started her career after graduating Fresno State as a teacher at Clovis West High School in Clovis CA., eventually moving into a position managing the Central Valley Region of California for a highly regarded nonprofit who’s focus was to coach teachers and administrators on how to be more effective educators in today’s environment.  While she is no longer full time in education, her passion remains in helping people reach their full potential.

Jim is currently the Managing Partner of Meridian Growers in Fresno, CA and has been involved with California agriculture, specifically the tree nut industry, since graduating from Cal Poly SLO back in 1986.   He has a passion for California agriculture and the families that make up this wonderful industry.  It was from this passion that the idea of expanding the usage of tree nuts into nontraditional products was borne.  Together Jim and Gloria are involved with Pistachios, Almonds and Pecans in both California and Arizona.

Jim, while serving on the Food Science and Nutrition Advisory Council at Cal Poly, become acquainted with Master Distiller Steve Thompson, another Cal Poly Graduate and owner of Kentucky Artisan Distillery located in LaGrange, Kentucky.   Steve is retired now but likes to work on projects that are interesting to him.   Jim and Steve starting wondered what might happen if they were to take an aged Kentucky Bourbon and finish it with natural pistachios.  Gloria, who is an avid wine enthusiast, was excited when Steve suggested adding the final step of using wine barrels for finishing and from that idea our product was born.  Our final product was a perfect trifecta:  Great Kentucky aged Bourbon; Fantastic Pistachios; all finished in superb used wine barrels.  Three years and over thirty-eight different iterations later, we have a top shelf product with a unique flavor profile and a smooth, long finish.

Our enthusiasm for this “New To World Bourbon” comes from hard work and dedication and a desire to create something from the ground up that has never been done before.  Wicked Harvest Pistachio Bourbon Whiskey is also a tribute to the Pistachio farmer of California and Arizona, most of who are from the fertile Central Valley of California and the high desert of Bowie, Arizona.  We are proud to be a part of and a supporter of the American Pistachio Grower family.   Many of those in the “Pistachio” family were early tasters of our experiments and helped to focus our efforts on what become our final product.

Because we believe strongly in keeping it local and the fact no one can tell your story better than you, we started our own distribution company, Velvetree Foods, LLC. Velvetree Foods is currently distributing Wicked Harvest in the Central Valley, Central Coast of California Kentucky, and most recently, Oregon.

Family, friends, farming and agriculture are central to everything we do.  It is our hope and desire Wicked Harvest becomes a testament to what you can accomplish when you set your mind to it and that doing the right thing is always the best thing to do.

Core Values

We believe that being truthful, reliable, honest and committed are the foundation of a healthy organization.  We will look for these qualities in our partners and in the talent management teams that works with Velvetree.

We believe that the people we work with have enormous reservoirs of untapped potential – potential to learn, to grow, contribute and to lead.

We believe that change becomes possible when we work collaboratively and include multiple voices. We strive for transparency and clear communications.

We keep at the fore front of every decision that the ingredients we use and every dollar spent are not wasted. We believe in being good stewards of human resources and will strive to make all members feel included and valued in the success of Velvetree.

We understand that we have taken on innovative and unchartered work, and so despite our sense of urgency to make and deliver a product, we will take time to laugh, celebrate small wins and appreciate each other.

  • “Always do more than is required of you”

    George Patton
  • “Your beliefs become your thoughts.  Your thoughts become your words.  Your words become your actions.  Your actions become your habits.  Your habits become you values.  Your values become your destiny.”

    Mahatma Gandhi
  • “The core of any family is what is changeless, what is going to be there – shared values and vision”

    Stephen Covey

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