Janice Schmidt

Janice Schmidt

Estate 1856 (Winemaker & Co-Owner)

Janice Schmidt grew up in Santa Rosa, California, and received her higher education at the University of California, Davis, where she earned a B.S. in Food Science and M.S. in Enology. Afterwards, she spent 20 years at Jordan Winery, working with winemaker Rob Davis and legendary wine consultant Andre Tchelistcheff and learning the art of crafting the quintessential Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon. Under their tutelage, she learned early on that the smallest issues in the winery have to be managed properly to bring the fullest possibilities within each wine to each bottle.

She and her husband Brian use wine grapes produced at the Tzabaco Rancho Vineyard, a property founded in 1856 by Brian’s great-great-grandfather D.D. Phillips and farmed for over 150 years. They have been responsible for protecting and nurturing the vineyards since the 1990s. Early supporters of the sustainability movement, they have focused on producing balanced vines with evenly distributed fruit, preserving and improving soil structure through the use of cover crops, implementing regulated deficit irrigation with a pressure bomb to improve wine quality, and managing pest issues using integrated pest management.

Janice’s first production of Cabernet Sauvignon under the Estate 1856 label was the 2009 vintage, and it was awarded a double gold at the 2012 San Francisco International Wine Competition. She is also producing Malbec, and red blends, among others. An emerging talent in the creation of rich, fruit-forward blends, Janice says “Trying to find the one out of a thousand potential blends that create the right balance of flavor, aroma and mouth feel is like solving a puzzle. It’s a surprisingly arduous process.”