President/Chief Operating Officer
J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines
Jeff Meier’s legacy as a world-class winemaker has seen him through three decades of harvests with J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, and today, as president/COO for J. Lohr Winery, Jeff oversees marketing, operations and production, while also leading efforts in winemaking.
Viticulture has been a part of Jeff’s life since his childhood. Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jeff would often accompany his parents on wine tasting trips to Napa and Sonoma counties during his youth. Although he was too young to taste, Jeff fell in love with the beauty and tranquility of the vineyards, which led to a lifelong passion for wine. This passion eventually steered Jeff to the University of California, Davis, where he was inspired to become a winemaker and earn a degree in viticulture and enology.
In 1983 and 1984, after a brief stint as a sales representative for a wine and spirits distributor, Jeff went to work harvest at J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines. Recognized for his aptitude and education, Jeff was offered the position of bottling line supervisor. Two years later, he was promoted to assistant winemaker. Jeff quickly became active in every aspect of the winemaking process, and in 1995, eleven years after he worked his first harvest, Jeff was appointed winemaker.
With over 30 years of experience in the California wine industry, Jeff has a broad understanding of viticulture, enology and winery operations. Jeff’s winemaking values go to the core of Jerry Lohr’s grape growing philosophy: that the quality of wine is directly related to what goes into the vineyards. Jeff believes a winemaker is truly a tenant of the earth, acknowledging, “There’s not a heck of a lot I can do as a winemaker to make great wine out of mediocre fruit.”
Jeff asserts, “Having estate vineyards gives J. Lohr an advantage. Because we have complete control over our vineyards, we can develop each block with the right clones and rootstock, and monitor our yields to maximize grape flavor. Because of our experience and experimentation, we are able to consistently harvest exceptional fruit, and in turn these grapes allow us to make wines of greater intensity and finesse.”
An active member of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture, American Chemical Society and the Executive Leadership Board at UC Davis, Jeff relishes continued learning and education around the globe. Constantly challenging himself, he enjoys the freedom to experiment creatively. Jeff’s staunch commitment to making the absolute best wines J. Lohr can is reflected in his work and the rich flavorful depth of the J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines portfolio. This portfolio, which Jeff has helped to develop in partnership with Jerry Lohr, has yielded such celebrated brands as J. Lohr Estates, J. Lohr Vineyard Series, J. Lohr Gesture and J. Lohr Cuvée Series, each invoking the best possible flavors from J. Lohr’s approximately 3,700 acres of estate vineyards.