Winemaker, Whitehall Lane
Dean Sylvester has been making wines in the Napa Valley for more than 25 years, the last 11 at Whitehall Lane Winery. He has helped to build Whitehall Lane into a Cabernet Sauvignon powerhouse. He is directly responsible for three wines that have been rated as top five wines in the world by Wine Spectator, including a Cabernet Sauvignon rated #3 in the world and one rated as the “Best Red Wine in America.”
Sylvester’s affinity for wine began at an early age in upstate New York. It was wine and music for Sylvester in the 1960s. He learned to crank the guitar with a garage band and he began developing his wine palate when working at a local wine shop. His greatest musical influences converged with him at Woodstock; and on the wine side, his influences were mostly California reds. He followed his love of wine and music across the country and made it to Davis, California where he majored in Fermentation Science at UC Davis.
Sylvester is a detail-oriented winemaker who works closely with his crew in the cellar, but also keeps a watchful eye on the development of the grapes in the vineyard. He is responsible for all winemaking, as well as overseeing the 110 acres of vineyards that the winery owns and all vineyards held under contract. But, he still remains rooted to his music and plays weekly in a Northern California band. However, he is quick to say he could never quit his day job.
Prior to joining Whitehall Lane Winery, Sylvester made wine at Newton Vineyards and Chimney Rock Winery as well as in Sonoma County.
Country born: United States
Education: Studied enology at UC Davis
Years in the wine industry: 20-30 years
Beautifully balanced wines that showcase the terroir.