Chappellet Vineyard (www.chappellet.com) announced that it has named Master Sommelier Jay James as director of sales and marketing. In this role, James will oversee both wholesale and retail sales for the three brands in the Chappellet Family of Wines portfolio, which includes Chappellet Vineyard, Sonoma-Loeb and Cervantes.
Most recently, James served as vice president of fine wine for Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada (SWSNV), where he managed a team of 14 people and oversaw Southern’s premium portfolio for Las Vegas hotel, restaurant and retail clients. Prior to his time at SWSNV, James was director of wine for the Bellagio Resort. At Bellagio, James managed 15 sommeliers and directed wine education for more than 2,000 employees in 26 restaurants. In this role, James was responsible for a 120,000 bottle wine inventory cellared in 20 separate locations, which generated in excess of $30 million in annual wine revenues—earning Bellagio recognition as the most successful single hotel wine program in the world.
James was the 32nd American to earn the title of Master Sommelier, and is a regular featured speaker at top food and wine events. He has competed as a United States finalist in both the Grand Prix du Sopexa Sommelier Competition and the Concours Mondial du Sommeliers. In addition to being the vice president of The Guild of Sommeliers and its Education Foundation, James is a current member and past officer of the Court of Master Sommeliers. He has appeared in a long list of national publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes, Wine Spectator and Restaurant Wine.
“The Chappellets are one of the modern founding families of Napa Valley,” says James. “They have been making some of California’s most extraordinary wines for almost 50 years. They work with some remarkable vineyards. The Chappellet family’s own Pritchard Hill® Estate is certainly the jewel in the crown; many consider the site a Napa Valley equivalent of a First Growth. With longtime winemaker Phillip Corallo-Titus, and a committed second generation of the family at the helm, Chappellet is making the finest wines in its history. I have long supported Chappellet from the hotel/restaurant side of our business. I believe I have used Chappellet wines in every wine program I have ever managed. I consider it a privilege to now be the winery’s chief evangelist, and help act as a steward of its rich legacy. I’m very proud to be representing Chappellet.”
“Jay is a natural leader, with a wealth of experience in both the wholesale and restaurant services sides of the wine industry,” says Cyril Chappellet, Chappellet’s chairman of the board. “He is also incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about wine, which gives him a unique understanding of our story and the story of Pritchard Hill. To have someone like Jay, who is so universally respected by his peers, at the helm of our sales efforts and acting as an ambassador for our winery, both nationally and internationally, is a rare opportunity.”
James will begin his new role at Chappellet on August 1, where he will join new Master Sommelier Emily Pickral-Papach on the Chappellet team. Pickral-Papach, the winery’s national sales analyst and wine educator, passed the Master Sommelier exam in May. She was the 19th woman in North America to receive the title of Master Sommelier.
About Chappellet Vineyard
Founded in 1967, Chappellet Vineyard is recognized as one of the Napa Valley’s preeminent family-owned wineries, and one of the pioneers of high-elevation vineyard planting in California. For almost five decades, Chappellet has crafted benchmark wines with an emphasis on hillside-grown Cabernet Sauvignons from Pritchard Hill.