Winemaker, Fontanella Family Winery
Owner/winemaker Jeff Fontanella has been making wine in Napa Valley for 12 years. A graduate of the University of California, Davis, he holds a degree in Viticulture and Enology. Jeff began his winemaking career working in the cellars of Opus One and ZD.
Soon after, he took a position at one of Napa’s great cult wineries, Saddleback Cellars. At Saddleback, Jeff sharpened his winemaking skills under the tutelage of Nils Venge, whom Robert Parker named one of the 20 most influential winemakers in the world. During his tenure at Saddleback, Jeff was able to hone his stylistic approach to winemaking while reinforcing his technical training in the art.
For the last five years, Jeff has been a consulting winemaker for a number of small ultra-premium boutique wine brands, including Carter Cellars, Richard Partridge, Highlands and Melanson, to name a few.
Country born: United States
Education: B.S. - Enology and Viticulture from U.C. Davis
Years in the wine industry: 10-15 years
Complexity, balance and depth are our winemaking goals. The primary control built into this is soil type variation. Our theory is that the majority of the distinctive character of the wine is dependant on the soil type and microclimate where it is grown. As a winery, we can influence the wines final characteristics, put our style to it, so to speak, but it is impossible to change the inherent core structure of the wine. Winemaking starts in the vineyard.