Geneviéve Janssens

Geneviéve Janssens

Portfolio Limited Edition (Winemaker & Owner)

Robert Mondavi Winery (Chief Winemaker)

Geneviéve Janssens was Director of Winemaking for Robert Mondavi Winery in the Napa Valley from 1997–2018. Now the Chief Winemaker there, she consults for Mondavi as well as for other wineries. In addition, Geneviéve is currently focusing on Portfolio, the winery she and her husband, Luc, founded in 1998 to produce wine made of Bordeaux varietals.

Geneviéve learned early on that the secret to winemaking success is to focus on quality. In her father’s vineyards, she followed him closely, listening and absorbing his philosophy. Her father believed that no matter what the conditions, you will survive by having the best quality, nothing else.

Born in Morocco and raised in France, Geneviéve’s formal wine education began under the tutelage of the legendary “three fathers” of modern enology—Jean Ribereau-Gayon, his son, Pascal Ribereau-Gayon, and Emile Peynaud, the latter of whom she studied with at the University of Bordeaux, France. After receiving her National Diploma of Enology in 1974, she returned to her family’s vineyards in Corsica and France, which she managed from 1974 to 1977. Concurrently, she owned and operated her own enology laboratory in Provence and served as consulting enologist to many French chateaux in the mid-seventies.

Drawn to the Robert Mondavi Winery’s philosophy in winemaking and winegrowing, Geneviéve moved to the Napa Valley in 1978. She recognized in Robert Mondavi her father’s holistic approach to quality. From 1978 to 1979, she worked at the Robert Mondavi Winery as a lab enologist and an assistant enologist. Deeply interested in the winemaking revolution taking hold in the state, Genevieve continued exploring California for the next decade, holding several consulting positions.

Geneviéve’s connection to Robert Mondavi returned in 1989, when she became Director of Production at Opus One Winery. In 1997, she came full circle as the Director of Winemaking at the Robert Mondavi Winery. She helped implement the To Kalon Project, the winery’s first major renovation since it was founded in 1966. The new To Kalon Fermentation Cellar allows Robert Mondavi Winery to make Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve and Oakville District Cabernet Sauvignon in a winemaking facility equal to its surrounding historic To Kalon Vineyard.

Geneviéve has received one of the industry’s highest honors, being named Wine Enthusiast’s 2010 Winemaker of the Year. This award recognizes excellence in the wine industry, honoring the most notable figures. Earlier, the French government had awarded Geneviéve one of its highest honors in the field of Agriculture, the prestigious “Croix de Chevaliere dans l’Ordre du Merite Agricole.” She also was honored with the title of “Commandeur d’Honneur de l’Ordre du Bontemps,” in Pauillac, Medoc, France.

Geneviéve and Luc live in the Napa Valley and are the parents of two children, Gabrielle and Georges.