We are so excited to announce that Jaime "JJ" Dowell has joined the Round Pond team as our new Winemaker! Get to know JJ below....
Jaime Dowell, aka "JJ", was bitten by the winemaking bug at UC Davis in 1998, where she earned a degree in Viticulture and Enology. She hit the ground running in 2002 as an intern for Artesa, Cardinale, Atalon, and Lokoya in Napa Valley. Shortly thereafter, JJ was called back to run her family's gallery business, where she spent six years successfully growing Studio 7 Fine Arts, the East Bay’s largest art gallery in Pleasanton, California. In 2008, she was unable to resist the lure of her true passion for the craft of winemaking, and left the gallery life behind to become the Winemaker for 2 small brands in the Livermore Valley: Crooked Vine & Stony Ridge Winery. Whilst there, JJ helped to oversee a 300-acre vineyard and undertook all winery operations herself until 2011.
JJ then “harvest hopped” to New Zealand and joined Villa Maria Estate in Blenheim making high-end, small-lot Pinot Noir for a southern hemisphere vintage.
JJ then returned to California just in time for the 2011 northern hemisphere harvest as the Assistant Winemaker to Randall Grahm at Bonny Doon Vineyards in Santa Cruz. Her time there was short but rich; learning about Rhone varietals, biodynamics, and the art of Rosé. In 2012 the wine gods led JJ to Alpha Omega Winery in Rutherford where she became fast friends with Winemaker Jean Hoefliger. She worked as his Associate Winemaker until the summer of 2017. Jean’s 5-year mentorship shaped JJ to take the helm of winemaking at Round Pond Estate - her ultimate dream job as the Winemaker of an estate with (as she puts it) “heart, soul, and spunk!”
When asked about her new place at Round Pond, JJ said, “As I look ahead at Round Pond’s already bright future, I can’t wait to work on a team of incredibly talented and passionate people. Together we’ll continue the journey to elevate our wines with each opportunity, pouring in wisdom, knowledge, and well-honed skills to each bottle…trying new things, repeating successful ideas, staying ahead of the curve, and blending with a fine-toothed comb.
The burgeoning Gravel Series is a place to really push the envelope, and where we’ll pepper in some HOT barrel fermentations for elegant, dense tannin extraction and an alluring mouthfeel. But we’ll continue to keep our eye on the prize with our deep, dark illustrious reds and our fresh, clean, complex whites. I’m particularly excited to learn about Sangiovese and Nebbiolo (which are new to me)… Plus Rosé! I love Rosé!”
Please join us in welcoming JJ to the Round Pond family. We cannot wait to see what she has in store for Round Pond in the coming years!