Jennifer Walsh

Jennifer Walsh

La Crema (Winemaker)

Jennifer (Jen) Walsh grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and worked in restaurants while in high school and at her alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh. This allowed her to sample wines, which fostered a growing interest in them, both on the job and in her spare time. However, her major in college, Philosophy and Aesthetic Theory, and additional studies in African Studies and Philosophy at the University of Ghana, would hardly foreshadow a career in winemaking.

More relevant to her ultimate professional goal was employment at Elk Run Vineyards in Mt. Airy, MD, as a vineyard and winemaking assistant for nearly a year in 2003. This was followed by enrolling at the University of California, Davis, where she earned an M.S. in Viticulture & Enology. She held several internships both in the U.S. and abroad as part of her practical education in winemaking. This included serving as a harvest intern at Hanzell Vineyards in Sonoma in 2006, a winemaking and vineyard intern in 2007at Domaine Marquis D’Angerville in Volnay, France, where she held a coveted Tastevin scholarship, and as a cellar worker for Matetic Vineyards in the San Antonio Valley of Chile for the harvest of 2008. She returned to the U.S. to a position as harvest enologist at Etude Wines in the Napa Valley.

Jennifer again went overseas for a stint as a vineyard and cellar hand at Burn Cottage Vineyard in Central Otago, New Zealand, for the 2009 harvest. Upon returning to California, she held positions as enologist at Nickel & Nickel in Oakville until early 2010 and as harvest winemaker at UC Davis in the Fall of that year. In August of 2011, she joined Miner Family Winery in Oakville as enologist and remained there for two years. Her next job was as associate winemaker for Benovia Winery in Santa Rosa until early 2017. There, Jen worked with a number of Pinot Noir clones from different terroirs, which allowed her to craft distinctive single-vineyard wines. After leaving Benovia, she became the winemaker for La Crema Winery in Healdsburg, her current position.

Jen’s passion is working at wineries that focus on expressive, cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, varietals for which La Crema is well known. Harvest is the favorite aspect of her winemaking role because it allows her to leave her personal artistic expression on the wine.