Whitehall Lane Winery says Goodbye to Dean Sylvester and Welcomes a new Winemaker

May 20th, 2016

Posted in Meet the team, Winemaking, Winery

Dear Friends,

After 18 fantastic years at Whitehall Lane, we want to let you know that our winemaker, Dean Sylvester, has decided to retire. We are very grateful for his commitment to the winery and its wines and wish him all the best. We reminisce not only about his unfailing craft of outstanding wines, but also his goofy sense of humor and contagious laugh. Some of you may also remember him entertaining guests with his guitar and vocals at several winery events over the years. Dean will certainly be missed, but we are very happy for him and glad for his time at Whitehall Lane Winery.

That being said, we are proud to introduce our new winemaker, Jason Moulton.

Jason has spent over 10 years making wine in Napa Valley, Russian River, Canada, New Zealand, Bordeaux and South Africa. He has worked with renowned winemakers Philippe Melka, David Ramey, Kale Anderson and Ashley Heisey. He quickly moved through the ranks from Cellar Worker to Cellar Master, Assistant Winemaker to Winemaker, most notably at Long Meadow Ranch Winery in St. Helena and Cliff Lede Vineyards in Yountville. Most recently, Jason held the position of Head Winemaker at Brassfield Estate Winery in the High Valley AVA of Lake County.

Jason is excited by the prospect of working with the Leonardini Family’s 150 acres of vineyards and taking the wines to new heights.  “I started my winemaking career in Rutherford and now I am excited to be back in Rutherford,” he said.  “I’ve learned a great deal working with some fantastic people over the last decade and really look forward to bringing the best out of Whitehall Lane’s vineyards.”

During the transition, Jason spent some time discussing winemaking philosophy with Dean and was understandably impressed when tasting the 2014 and 2015 wines he is tasked to finish and bottle. They also visited our vineyards where they talked about the 2016 growing season as well as memorable vintages from years past. Jason is looking forward to his first harvest at Whitehall Lane, which will begin in just a handful of months.

Jason hails from Springfield, IL and graduated from the Lincoln University Viticulture and Enology program in New Zealand. He now lives in Calistoga with his wife and son. Next time you’re in the Napa Valley, be sure to stop in and say hello. Please join us in welcoming Jason to our Whitehall Lane family.

Many thanks,
The Leonardini Family