In middle school, Jessica signed up for a science experiment to investigate the fermentation rates of fruit juices in a refrigerated space: that space turned out to be the family refrigerator. To complete her analysis, she was connected with a winery a few miles down the road from her house—Bernadus Winery in Carmel Valley. As the experiment went on for several months, Jessica shadowed the winemaker, getting to understand the ins and outs of testing alcohol and brix, and learning the basics of microbiology.
Years later as she was studying Chemical Engineering, the grind of one engineering course after another brought back memories of working with grapes, perfecting fermentation and learning from passionate winemakers. Jessica decided to try a few enology classes and the world soon lost a chemical engineer, only to gain a dedicated, committed winemaker instead.
Jessica graduated from UC Davis with a BS degree in Viticulture and Enology in 2004, then worked harvests in the vineyards of Clos du Val winery in Stags Leap plus Rudd Estate in Oakville. Then it was off to New Zealand and the Marlborough Valley, working with Kim Crawford and Saint Claire wineries before the States called again, and the position of Enologist at Miner Family winery in Oakville. One last stop at Vineyard 29 in St. Helena led her to Williams Selyem in her role as Enologist.
Away from grapes, vineyards, and fermentation tanks, Jessica is a big fan of a well-chilled Sancerre and oysters from Hog Island in Marshall. Her favorite varietal is Chardonnay, which rose to power during her honeymoon in Burgundy with her husband, tasting some great French white wines. Jessica is also mildly famous for making a great Sazerac, a cocktail requiring patience and attention to detail.
When Jessica really wants to get away from wine, you’ll find her cycling the local roads around Healdsburg, following a route that takes her along Westside Road over to Chalk Hill and through Alexander Valley. She’s also a fan of backpacking into the wilds, having actually done a solo backpack trip in New Zealand prior to vintage. So it should come as no surprise that Jessica’s great, great, great uncle was “Buffalo” Bill Cody, a gentleman known for exploring the unknowns of the Wild West.
Jessica was born in 1981, and that year Sonoma County Pinot was noted for offering, “hints of earth, cherry, and dust.”