Today we speak to Jeff Owens, winemaker at Odette Estate in Stags Leap District, in California’s Napa Valley, who at 34 years old, is the first winemaker to have received a 100 point score for his debut vintage (Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, October 31, 2014).
As an up-and-coming influencer in the wine industry, Jeff’s talents are getting the recognition they deserve as he guides the style behind Odette Estate’s wines. Owens was previously assistant winemaker at PlumpJack and CADE from 2008-2011. He is a native of Sacramento and graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in Wine and Viticulture with a concentration in Enology. Owens served as Assistant Winemaker at both CADE Winery and PlumpJack Winery before joining Odette Estate, all owned by PlumpJack Group partners Gordon Getty, Gavin Newsom, and John Conover, where he gained valuable experience working in three distinctly different Napa Valley AVA’s. Working his way up in the industry from modest beginnings, Owens has proved his unmistakable talents at a very young age.
Stag’s Leap District is where the distinctive soils are renowned for imparting extraordinary power, balanced by delicately articulated structure, varietal aromas and flavors to the wines. Odette Estate includes a historic 36-acre vineyard and a 5,000-square-foot winery with 18,000 square feet of caves. It will feature an 8,500 square foot planted living roof, and 2,500 square feet of solar panels, generating 30,000 kilowatts of solar power. The building features polycarbonate paneling all around, to create light without the use of energy. No air conditioning is used, but a large, low-velocity fan will circulate air through the facility.
Recycled shipping containers from China have been transformed into a winemaker’s office and laboratory, employee break room and restroom adorned with orange Mexican glass tiles. The containers feature 9-foot exposed ceilings, recycled marine plywood flooring coated with epoxy for water protection, MDF (medium-density fiberboard) walls, FCC (Forest Council Certified) wood and LED light fixtures. The new winery will be LEED certified. The new winery was designed by renowned architect Juancarlos Fernandez, whose design of CADE Estate Winery has drawn widespread acclaim. The winery was completed in late summer of 2014. The debut vintage of Odette Estate will be released nationally in February, 2015. Born and raised in Sacramento, CA, Jeff sought a degree in Wine and Viticulture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. His tenacious spirit and ambitious intellect drew him to the world of wine early in his studies. The richness, body and elegance within the glass lit a spark, and before he knew it a passion was born. As part of the first graduating Wine and Viticulture class, Jeff landed an internship with Cakebread Cellars in the Napa Valley. Jeff’s vocational experience and hands on approach was noticed by a premium brand known as PlumpJack Winery.
Reveling his tremendous work ethic and skill set early in his career, Jeff grew within the company. Within ten years, he learned every aspect of the company and role he had been given.
Jeff tells us about his personal style below
Jeans: 7 for all mankind. They just always seem to fit right.
Shirts: Lots of Ralph Lauren– from polos to dress shirts.
Pants: J. Crew
Suits: Burberry all the way!
Shoes: Cole Haan’s are my favorite. You can’t beat the combination of style and comfort.
Favorite Cologne: I usually don’t wear any out of habit because I am always dealing with wine, and it interferes with the aromatics.
Your favorite App: Dish Anywhere. I’m guaranteed never to miss a game!
Favorite piece of technology: My iPhone
Next tech purchase: MacBook Air