By the time he graduated high school in Boulder, Colorado, winemaker Jesse Katz had already traveled to the most famous winemaking regions in the world. His family had explored over sixty countries while following the works of his well known photographer father, Andy Katz. It was his visits to Burgundy, Tuscany, Napa, and Sonoma that ignited Jesse’s appreciation for great wine and regional terroir. His stays at Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Argiano, Sassaccia, and Domaine Leflaive left him with fond memories of playing in the vineyards and cellars of these legendary wine houses.
Jesse’s desire to be a winemaker became apparent while working at Fess Parker winery in Los Olivos, California at the age of eighteen. He was a young lab assistant who immediately fell in love with the art of winemaking and its interplay between science and nature. His experience led him to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Enology and minor in Chemistry from Fresno State University, where he received a full scholarship. At school he had the opportunity to make wine on campus for the first time. “This was a great hands-on educational experience for me, because no one in my family had ever made wine before.”
After finishing school, Jesse surrounded himself with some of the most respected winemakers in the world. He worked six harvests in just three years, spending half the year in Argentina with Hans Vinding-Diers, winemaker at Bodega Noemia in Patagonia and with Paul Hobbs in Mendoza at Viña Cobos. His internship experience in California included work for Bob Foley at Hourglass and at Screaming Eagle, working alongside renowned winemaker Andy Erickson. As winemaker for both Lancaster Estate and Roth Estate, Jesse brought to bear his handcrafted style of terroir driven winemaking in producing their most highly acclaimed wines. In addition to making all wines at Aperture Cellars, Jesse also produces the 100% allocated wines for his cult brand, Devil Proof Vineyards. When not making wine or traveling the world, you’ll often find Jesse walking the vineyards or hiking the hills near his home in the Alexander Valley with his wife, Sarah, and their dog, Giacomo.