Winemaker, Whitehall Lane
Jason was hired in March 2016 and previously spent over 14 years making wine in Napa Valley, Russian River, Canada, New Zealand, Bordeaux and South Africa. He has worked with renowned winemakers Philippe Melka, David Ramey, and Ashley Heisey. He quickly moved through the ranks from cellar worker to cellar master, assistant winemaker to winemaker, most notably at Long Meadow Ranch Winery in St. Helena, Cliff Lede Vineyards in Yountville and most recently at Brassfield Estate Winery in the High Valley AVA of Lake County.
Country born: United State of America
Education: Graduate from the Lincoln University Viticulture and Enology program in New Zealand.
Years in the wine industry: 20-30 years
In general, my philosophy is very traditional/old world and natural. Varietal typicity is incredibly important to me: Cabernet Sauvignon should taste like Cabernet; Pinot Noir should taste like Pinot Noir, etc.
More than anything, balance is the most paramount element for me in winemaking. Anyone can have aromas and flavors, but balancing out all of the other elements within a wine between the tannins, alcohol, and acidity (amongst others) is critical.
When I have the opportunity, I prefer to use native fermentations and my wines receive extended time on the lees to build mid-palate and weight naturally. I like French oak with a minimum of 3-years air dried cooperage for resolving and evolving any fine oak tannins in the wine. And at bottling, wines should be unfiltered to keep the integrity of the wine and its mouth feel together.