On the heels of his debut party in March, Jeremy Justin Nickel has splashed onto the Wellington scene with passion, integrity and elbow grease.
These are the qualities that Nickel has imported from Napa Valley, Calif., to join Wellington’s social and dining sphere while developing his newest venture, To-Kalon Farm, an elite, multidisciplinary equestrian facility aiming to be the next destination venue in Wellington.
Moving from wine country on the west coast to the horse country of South Florida has been a formative period in Nickel’s life, and he has worked persistently over the course of a year to bring his equestrian estate up to the standards of quality that his late father, Gil Nickel, instilled in him, while giving back to causes that are near to his heart.
Nickel was born into an agricultural family that split its time between San Francisco and Oakville, Calif. From a young age, he was surrounded by some of the most notable wineries in the United States. His father, the proprietor of the Far Niente, Nickel & Nickel and Dolce wineries, always sought to exceed the highest standards of oenology, the science and study of wine and winemaking, which he bestowed onto his son. After graduating from Southern Methodist University in 2001, Nickel returned to the Napa Valley to assist with the grand opening of Nickel & Nickel in 2003 before his father passed away from cancer.
His father’s passing, although incredibly painful, motivated Nickel to work tirelessly to create the ultimate tribute wine in honor and appreciation of his father. The product of his dedication was a cult cabernet sauvignon, warmly branded the Vineyard House (TVH). After receiving much acclaim, Nickel decided to expand the vineyard, which is located on some of the most fertile and sought-after soil that the Napa Valley has to offer. Today, he focuses solely on the production of TVH wine and carries on his father’s legacy through his commitment to quality wine, philanthropy and his community.
“Because the vineyard is a living tribute to him, with everything I do I ask myself, ‘Is this something my dad would be proud of?’ and usually the answer is yes,” Nickel explained. “I am very proud of my family’s history and our evolution into being a leader in the wine industry, so I’ve chosen to donate a percentage of the Vineyard House’s proceeds to cancer research every year.”
Although Nickel was not planning to call Wellington home, the universe conspired to push him into a new phase of life at To-Kalon Farm, located in the heart of Wellington horse country. To-Kalon Farm is a 15-acre, multidisciplinary, full-service equestrian facility that offers high-end boarding and training with even bigger plans for the future.
The picturesque property offers a discreet yet well-positioned location less than five minutes from the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and the International Polo Club Palm Beach. Appropriately, “To-Kalon” is an ancient Greek phrase used by Aristotle and Socrates to mean “the greatest or highest beauty.”
“I initially fell in love with the property’s potential, and I am having a lot of fun developing it,” Nickel said. “Re-designing the landscaping and working to transition it into a very tranquil and exclusive facility for people to have beautiful grounds to work with their horses on has been a very rewarding project for me.”
With the intention of hosting a multitude of equestrian activities, from boarding and training of elite show horses to scenic weddings, Nickel plans for To-Kalon Farm to become a destination facility that will fulfill a unique space in Wellington.
Featuring a 12-stall barn, arena, grass derby field, riding track, hot-walker and polo stick-and-ball field, the well-rounded equestrian space boasts everything needed and more to serve as a full-service operation surrounded by the pristine beauty that Nickel has cultivated.
“I became enthralled with the property because of the mature trees that the previous owner, dressage competitor Anthea Christian, had developed with her husband,” Nickel said. “They are from Kenya in Africa, and so the property, the trees, and the residence all have a bit of an African influence to it, which I really love.”
Africa also holds a special place in Nickel’s philanthropic heart. After attaining sobriety 11 years ago, he went on a trip to Senegal that completely altered his perspective of the world. Now, he is part of a program that builds schools in rural parts of Senegal to support several villages in the surrounding area, and he donates a percentage of proceeds from TVH to the program.
“It changed my life to get to go to a place where people live in mud huts but would give you the shirt off their back,” Nickel said. “It is not about what you have but what you appreciate and what you’re grateful for.”
Nickel has already continued his philanthropic ways in Wellington. In March, he joined forces with the Great Charity Challenge to identify a charity in need to which he could make a significant donation. Place of Hope, a Palm Beach County-based nonprofit, received $17,000 in funding thanks to a charitable donation made by TVH. The organization is dedicated to providing stable and loving family environments for children and youth who are hurting and their families. In an effort to meet the desperate needs of the children, families and the child welfare system, Place of Hope has developed a variety of programs and has become the largest, most diverse residential children’s organization in South Florida, serving 340 children and youth on a daily basis.
Through his unique life experiences, Nickel has become inspired to form an ethos of passion, integrity and hard work with a commitment to improving the lives of others that he hopes will be a positive addition to Wellington and its people for many years to come.
Bringing with him a diverse knowledge of wine, equestrian sport and philanthropy, Nickel is a fitting addition to the eclectic group of residents and visitors from around the globe that form the beautiful melting pot community of Wellington both year-round and seasonally.
Learn more about To-Kalon Farm at www.to-kalonfarm.com.