Jennifer Williams

Jennifer Williams

Arrow & Branch (Winemaker)

Zeitgeist Cellars (Winemaker & Owner)

Ziata Wines (Winemaker)

Jennifer Williams grew up in a rural town north of San Diego, gazing at and grazing on her family’s many fruit trees. She cultivated that awareness of flavor and her interest in agriculture through her studies in fruit science at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. After receiving her undergraduate degree, a vineyard internship in the Napa Valley sparked her interest in the wine industry. Her further winegrowing experience has included positions in Paso Robles and the Napa Valley, as well as an internship in Spain’s Rioja Alavesa region.

In 2002, Jennifer joined Araujo Estate Wines and Spottswoode Winery as a harvest intern, splitting her time between these two great winemaking estates. At Spottswoode, Jennifer was drawn to the philosophy of organic and sustainable farming that Tony Soter had introduced in 1985. Following harvest, she joined their team full time, working under gurus David Abreu in the fields and Rosemary Cakebread in the winery. In 2004, with a deeper understanding of the estate vineyard, she took over as vineyard manager and was Spottswoode’s winemaker from 2006 to 2011, where she focused on crafting Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Syrah. The San Francisco Chronicle named Jennifer a “Winemaker to Watch” in 2007, and Women for Winesense awarded her a “Rising Star” in 2010.

Jennifer was named winemaker for Arrow & Branch in April 2011. The winery focuses on Bordeaux style wines, particularly those produced with a large quantity of Cabernet Franc. Arrow & Branch wines include a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Malbec, and a Bordeaux-style Sauvignon Blanc. She assumed the role of winemaker at Ziata Wines in 2015, where she produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and red blends and was winemaker at Pahlmeyer for three years, beginning in 2018 and is now the consulting winemaker there.

In addition to her work at these wineries, Jennifer and her husband, Mark Porembski, have collaborated on their own project, Zeitgeist Cellars, since 2007, crafting small batches of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

When Jennifer is not walking through the vineyard or tasting in the cellar, she and Mark stay very busy, enjoying every possible minute with their children.