Consulting winemaker and grape-grower Jeff Gaffner brings more than 30 years of experience to his role at Hestan Vineyards. Jeff began his career in 1981 at Chateau St. Jean under the tutelage of legendary winemaker Richard Arrowood. At Chateau St. Jean, Jeff was part of the winemaking team responsible for the winery’s celebrated 1996 Cinq Cepages, a classic blend of all five Bordeaux varietals that was named Wine of the Year by Wine Spectator Magazine.
Over the years, Jeff has developed a reputation as a specialist both in the vineyard and cellar, receiving critical acclaim for his site-expressive winemaking and signature elegant style. The Wall Street Journal said of the Saxon Brown Wines made from his family’s 100 year old Casa Santinamaria Vineyard, “We love his vineyard’s voice.” Wine Spectator Magazine called Jeff’s first wine for Napa Valley client Xtant (a proprietary Bordeaux blend) “outstanding” and upon its release, placed the winery on its list of “Napa’s Impressive Newcomers.” The Wine Spectator also praised Jeff’s winemaking for client Black Kite Cellars as “deft” while naming that winery to their list of “2007 Hot Dozen New Pinot Producers.”
In 2004, during a tasting of Merlots, Hestan Vineyards owner Stanley Cheng was introduced to Jeff’s winemaking and hired him to produce Stephanie, the winery’s first line of “Bordeaux blend” wines.