Born and raised in New Jersey, Karen and John fell in love with the Napa Valley in the 1980's. It was a dream to someday produce a wine from this beautiful valley - and to make that dream come true, they set about learning how to make wine by taking courses and learning about winemaking. In 1997 thru 2003, they took another step in their journey by having grapes trucked into a small winery in New Jersey, where they experimented with different types of grapes, oak treatments and even corks. In 2004, they launched Jean Edwards Cellars with one wine (cabernet sauvignon) from Stagecoach Vineyard. With that first release they hit the lottery twice as the wine and new brand caught the attention of Wine Spectator Magazine. The wine was rated 92 points and a few months later, Wine Spectator named Jean Edwards Cellars as "one of twenty new cabernet producers to watch that could be the next cult wines" (they had some pretty good company on that list including Kapcsandy, Round Pond and Scarecrow).
John and Karen both worked for a major International CPG company - John's background is in R&D/Operations while Karen's is in Sales/Marketing. About 10+ years ago they left the corporate world behind to focus solely on their wine business. They both come from humble roots and are proud to have built a brand that represents consistency and quality, while offering wines at an approachable price point.
Often asked “what’s the Jean Edwards style of wine?” Their response with a wink and a smile “wines that will pair well with food… wines that you will want to open and share with good friends… but you’ll want to keep the bottle at your end of the table.”
Kian Tavakoli has been with the winery every step of the way. He is a graduate of UCal Davis and has nearly 30 years of winemaking experience. Kian started his career at Opus One and after 4 years moved on to Clos du Val where he headed up the red wine reserve program under the mentorship of Bernard Portet. In 2004, after 8 years at Clos du Val, Kian started working with smaller wineries - and the timing was perfect (as Jean Edwards Cellars was being launched).
Kian works closely with our growers and helps bring to life the vision that we have for each wine. The wines should demonstrate a sense of place, show consistency in style yet let the vintage shine through.
When Kian is not busy in the winery, he is involved with the Napa Valley Swim Team. He is also a martial arts black belt and an avid Star Wars fan. Kian and his wife (Erika) have three children and live in Napa.
We are proud to call Kian our winemaker, friend and colleague.
We welcomed Dan to our JEC team in the Spring of 2023. Dan is a seasoned wine veteran and has worked both on and off premise in selling and buying fine wines. Most recently, Dan headed-up the Fine Wine Department at King's Foods in Livingston, NJ.
Our good friends, Dan and MaryLou, enjoy spending time with family and their grandkids. They also share a mutual love of good music, good food, and great wine.
You'll be greeted with a warm smile and welcomed into our tasting room by Jessica. She leads a strong team that will share their knowledge of wines and love of wine country with you. Jess started her wine career at Naked Wines before moving to PureCru Napa Valley as a tasting room associate. She first poured our wines at the "Wines on First" tasting collective in downtown Napa. She was promoted to Manager when we opened our first solo tasting room at the Sonoma Plaza, and moved with us to our new (and current) location in Napa.
Jess is an awesome mom to her son (Maddox) and daughter (Harlow). She is also an avid Oakland A’s fan.
Strike up a conversation with Barb and you'll feel like you've known her forever - and you're sure to make a new friend. Born in New York and raised in Miami, Barb is a former flight attendant - as you can probably guess she and her husband (Bob) love to travel!
Barb and Bob moved to wine country over 14 years ago and she joined our team at our prior location in Sonoma. Barb has worked in the wine industry for the past 12 years - prior to joining us, she worked at Cline Cellars. Barb loves to travel, garden and we've been told she's pretty good at bocce too!
Karie joined our team in 2021 and has a well-rounded wine background having previously headed up the wine program at the Sonoma Cheese Factory along with positions at Beringer and Andretti wineries in Napa Valley.
Karie holds her WSET-1 wine certification and she's constantly learning about the world of wine. Ask her where our wines come from and she'll tell you all about the vineyards, soils and even some winemaking techniques!
In her leisure time, Karie and her husband (Alan) enjoy seeking out new wineries, listening to live musice and spending time with their children and grandchildren. Karie also enjoys taking walks with Bella (her grand dog).
Jack joined us in the Spring of 2021, after working for several years as a wine educator at Andretti Winery in Napa.
Jack has been a great addition to our team and he's our local expert (he and his wife Marilyn live locally in Napa). So, if you need a suggestion on where to go or where to eat - he's your guy!
When Jack is not at the tasting room you just might see him around Napa with his faithful friend - Gerty. Gerty is a bulldog that Jack and Marilyn rescued a few years ago and she just loves her dad!
Joining us in July, 2023, Lorena is our newest team member. She joins our team with an extensive sales and marketing background and has over ten years of experience in the wine industry having worked for Quintessa and Chappellet wineries.
Lorena holds her MBA from Sonoma State University and is white belt certified in Lean Six Sigma. She and her family live locally in Napa.
Cooper is our 13 1/2 year -old black labrador retriever - a bit of a diva, very smart, and a very spoiled fur kid. When he found out is mom and dad were in the wine business, he pawed us until we launched a line of wines just for him called "Cooper's Cuvee". Cooper even has his own website - click here.
We currently produce two wines for Cooper's wines - Blackpaw which is petite sirah and Red Collar Rose' (because black labs always wear red collars).
Labrador Retrievers have always been a big part of our family and winery. All of our past and current labs (including Trouble, Oaklee and Cooper) are honored in some small way on each of our labels - see if you can find the hidden symbols.