Jesse Katz

Master Vintner. Cult Winery of the Year Founder. Forbes 30 Under 30.

Jesse grew up traveling the world with his dad, celebrated photographer Andy Katz, tasting handmade pasta in Tuscany, ratatouille in Provence, Pecorino in Catalonia and—what many will argue is Europe’s most sublime liquid—the rarefied wines of Burgundy, France. It was there in the lavender-ringed vineyards that the art and science of winemaking captured Jesse’s imagination and sparked his lifelong passion. The world took note in 2017 when a bottle of Jesse’s wine called The Setting (a Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc blend) went for a record-setting $350,000 at the Napa Valley Wine Auction. Three years earlier Forbes had named him—the first-ever winemaker chosen—to its “30 under 30” list. Jesse developed his winemaking chops at cult winery Screaming Eagle, in his early 20s. Then, at the tender age of 24, he became America’s youngest lead winemaker when he took the helm at Lancaster Estate in Alexander Valley. 

For the past few years, along with bespoke blends for the glitterati—including a wine Justin Timberlake commissioned for his bride Jessica Biel—Jesse has been producing award-winning wines under three labels, Aperture, The Setting, and Devil Proof, a nod to a favorite vacation Jesse took with his Dad to Cuba where, as the saying goes, you can “live well, drink well, and the Devil can’t get ya!” Each of these wines has earned 90+ from the world’s leading wine critic, Robert Parker, Jr.  Recently, Jesse and Andy brought into being a lifelong dream, their jointly owned and operated Aperture Cellars Winery, in the Sonoma County town of Healdsburg.

Photos: courtesy Jesse Katz

Featured Presentation

Bringing a Dream into Focus: The Making of Aperture Cellars Winery

This talk is a celebration of life, love, and the art of winemaking, shared by father/son team Andy and Jesse Katz.  It also shows how hard work, determination, and passion can combine to produce something that has captured hearts, minds, and palates worldwide.  Explore the meteoric rise of one of winemaking’s fastest-rising stars.

Presented solo or together with Aperture co-owner Photographer Andy Katz

Jesse is also available for curated wine tasting events and dinners.

More about Jesse

Instagram: @aperturecellars

Twitter: @jkatzwine

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©2020 by Deborah Benson.