Jon Emmerich, Winemaker

Jon is only the second lead winemaker in the history of Silverado Vineyards. During his years at the winery, he has grown Silverado’s reputation for quality and consistency.

Jon has come a long way since his days as a kid in Redwood City, a suburb south of San Francisco. In those days, he remembers his parents drinking Mateus Rosé and Blue Nun, popular wine brands in the 70s. It wasn’t until Jon went away to college at UC Davis where, on a lark, he enrolled in the Fermentation Science program, that he was introduced to the greater world of California wine.

As it turns out, Jon’s lessons took place not only in the classroom, but also in his dorm room. He and a dorm mate, whose family owned a small farm and winery in Lodi, decided to use some of the family fruit to make wine in their dorm room. It was a red blend and, at that point, Jon realized that if he could make decent wine in a dorm room, then he could make really good wine out in the world.

In 1985, Emmerich tested his wings in France for an internship where he augmented his knowledge of the traditional wine making craft. After graduating from The University of California, Davis in 1987 with a BS in Fermentation Science, Emmerich worked a harvest at Stags Leap Wine Cellars. He then spent a year at Conn Creek Winery and Sebastiani before moving to Silverado Vineyards in 1990.

Emmerich is Past President of the Napa Valley Wine Tech Group and Past President of the Winemaking Techniques Committee of the California Enological Research Association. He is currently on the Board of The Trellis Alliance, an advisory committee to The University of California, Davis Viticulture and Enology Department.

Managing winemaking is just one part of what Jon does at Silverado Vineyards. He spends a lot of time on the road, meeting consumers and carrying the Silverado story outside the Napa Valley. He also spends copious amounts of time working in Silverado’s estate vineyards to understand the terroir and communicate its story through the wines. Jon sums it up nicely – “If my staff enjoys their work and our customers enjoy our wines, then I have done my job. In the end, that’s what really matters.”