Jessica Boone

Jessica Boone

Passalacqua Winery (Winemaker)

Jessica Boone was born in Seattle, but grew up in Sonoma and Chico. After earning her B.S. in zoology at Sonoma State University, she landed a job working in the water quality analysis laboratory of the California Department of Fish & Game. But after six months there, she found herself in the laboratory of Edgewood Estate in St. Helena for the 2000 crush. In her own words, “I was completely fascinated - I knew nothing of wine, but knew how juice tasted, and that juice could become wine - so I stayed."

Under the tutelage of Head Winemaker Jeff Gaffner there, she learned how to make elegant, balanced Cabernet Sauvignons that emphasized the terroir of each vineyard. As Assistant Winemaker, she also made Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet France and Petite Verdot. From 2003 to 2010, she was the Winemaker at Armida Winery, having been hired after Jeff described her to the owners as “. . . a raw talent, a real hands-on winemaker. She's a real sponge, willing to learn, willing to get her hands dirty, willing to get in a tank and shovel it out." At Armida, she continued to pursue and focus on vineyard designate wines, including multiple Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay designates, among others.

She took a short break in her winemaking career to start a family, but returned to the trade in 2012 as winemaker for Passalacqua Winery. As Jessica says, “Nothing holds a candle to the joy (and hard work!) of raising children, but the pursuit of my passion for winemaking could not be ignored.”

Jessica believes in a “hands-on” approach to winemaking, is dedicated to producing balanced wines, and strives to let the vineyard shine through a minimalist approach. She proudly proclaims herself as a “cellar rat” and believes that a winemaker needs to get her hands dirty (or purple) in the process of producing the wine. Because wine is a dynamic and ever-evolving entity, the best way for her to react as the “moderator” of the transformation is to be in the cellar observing, smelling, and tasting as the changes occur.