A brief history
Meet The Winemakers
Named President of Schramsberg Vineyards in 2005, Hugh had already spent many years as a winemaker in the family business. Hugh was born in 1965, the same year that his parents, Jack and Jamie Davies, purchased the abandoned Schramsberg property in the Mayacamas range above Calistoga. Hugh grew up amongst the vines, caves, tanks and barrels that make Schramsberg Vineyards what it is today; the premier producer of American sparkling wines.View More
As a young man, he ventured away from home to broaden his experiences; earning a master’s degree in enology from the University of California, Davis, an undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College in Maine, and honing his skills at Möet et Chandon in Epernay, Petaluma Winery in South Australia, and Mumm Napa Valley.
Hugh never rests on the successes of previous years, and is always looking to build upon the winery’s venerable track record of producing award-winning sparkling wines that rival the best produced worldwide. He has increased the number of vineyards that the winery sources grapes from to over 120 cool-climate sites across Carneros, Anderson Valley, and the Sonoma and Marin coasts; he championed the increased usage of barrel fermentation in the production process; and he expanded the small-lot base wine program to an impressive 300 lots of unique wines. This effort has provided the winemaking team with a much broader base of flavor profiles to utilize when ensuring the quality of the final blends of the 12-14 sparkling wines made each year.
For the Davies Vineyards still wine program, Hugh was instrumental in the decision to replant the historic hillside vineyards on the Schramsberg property over to Bordeaux varietals in the 1990s and 2000s. These blocks are recognized as the first hillside vineyards in Napa Valley. They are utilized by the Davies winemaking team to make J. Davies Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that has received both public and critical acclaim since its first vintage in 2001. In 2009, Hugh led the winemaking team into another new venture, producing the winery's first still Pinot Noir wines. The family’s experience with Pinot Noir dates back to 1967, when Jack and Jamie Davies first used this elegant red varietal to make their inaugural vintage of Blanc de Noirs sparkling wine. Over the 45 years following that first use, Schramsberg’s winemakers have built long-lasting relationships with some of the best Pinot Noir growers in the North Coast. In 2012, the Davies Vineyards winery in St. Helena was opened, where the first non-estate Cabernet Sauvignons were produced as well as the very first vintage of the J. Davies Estate “Jamie”, the pinnacle bottling of Cabernet Sauvignon for the winery. In 2017, the Davies Vineyards Grayson Building was opened, providing an intimate space where wine enthusiasts can be educated about the brand, while they taste a selection of the Davies still wines next door to the winery in which they are crafted.
As his parents were, Hugh is dedicated to protecting the greater Napa County. He served on the board of directors for the Napa Valley Vintners (president, 2006), chaired the 2014 Premiere Napa Valley, and along with his family, chaired the 2004 Auction Napa Valley. In addition, Hugh and other advisers lead the Jack L. Davies Land Preservation Fund, committed to carrying on the efforts of his father to preserve the Napa Valley for its highest uses: agricultural and open space lands.
Continuing on a path that started over 50 years ago, Hugh carries on with the family legacy living on the Schramsberg property with his lovely wife Monique and three sons Emrys, Nelson and Hugh Jr
Growing up in the diverse agricultural region of Sonoma County, Sean Thompson acquired a deep interest in the cultivation and preparation of the bounty that comes from the soil. This interest to live his life with a focus on agriculture led him to his first round at the University of California, Davis, earning a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Chemistry in 1992, with “minors” in tractor maintenance and bus/truck driving.View More
Upon his completion of his degree, Sean began a career in winemaking, starting with Beringer Vineyards at the old Italian Swiss Colony in Asti, California. Sean would build a strong foundation for his future, by continuing his enological exploration with the fermentation of red wines, by moving to Napa for a position at Rutherford Hill Winery.
Although rich in practical experience, Sean desired broadening his enology education through the educational system. He returned to the University of California, Davis in the fall of 2002, and soon earned his Masters of Science in Viticulture and Enology.
Upon graduation, Sean continued his growth at Staglin Family Estate in Rutherford, CA, working directly with Luc Morlet on estate-driven Cabernet Sauvignons. Sean joined the Schramsberg winemaking team in the summer of 2006, as the Assistant Winemaker for the J. Davies Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon program.
Sean was promoted to position of Head Winemaker of the still wine program in 2008, focusing on the production of the J. Davies Estate wines and the development of the broader Davies Vineyards brand. In addition to his duties as the red wine winemaker, he also had active participation in blending and dosage evaluation and complete oversight of bottling and disgorging or the sparkling wine program. In 2015, he was promoted to be the Senior Winemaker for both Davies and Schramsberg Vineyards brands, and in 2017 he was promoted to Director of Winemaking, overseeing the production and winemaking of all wines produced.
Sean lives in Santa Rosa, with his wife, Megan, and his Dachshund-Boxer mix Buckminster Fuller. He enjoys spending time brewing beer, gardening, restoring automobiles and motorcycles, and working on his and other friend’s house projects.
Jessica’s first experience with Schramsberg Vineyards goes back to her working as theView More
company’s lab intern in 2003. She soon joined the winemaking team full-time, as the enologist,
following graduation from the University of California, Davis with a BS degree in Viticulture
and Enology. Over the following three years, she was responsible for overseeing the winery’s lab
trials, maintaining the company’s wine database and managing the records from each harvest.
In 2007, Jessica moved to New Zealand and then New York, working the harvests at Cloudy Bay
Vineyards and Bedell Cellars. In 2008 Jessica found herself back in California, hired at
Gundlach Bundschu Winery where she quickly earned the position of associate winemaker. At
Gundlach Bundschu and sister winery Bartholomew Park, she worked on the production of over
a dozen different varietals and gained the in-depth knowledge of crafting quality wine from start
In 2013, she took on the role of Assistant Winemaker at Vineyard 29 in St. Helena. There she
handled the day-to-day management of staff and quality control for the estate Cabernet
Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc programs, as well as multiple on-site custom
clients’ production, under the direction of Director of Winemaking, Keith Emerson, and
Consulting Winemaker, Philippe Melka.
Jessica rejoined our winemaking team as a seasoned veteran in 2015, when she was brought in as an Associate Winemaker to manage the Davies Vineyards red wine program. In 2021, she was
promoted, and now manages the wine production for the Schramsberg Vineyards sparkling wine
program. With the gained experience from so many quality wine producers, Jessica has the
necessary skills to not only maintain, but grow the wine quality of both the Schramsberg and
Davies Vineyards brands.
Jessica lives in Napa and spends her free time cooking for harvest interns, reading and tackling
scenic hikes when she isn’t visiting her family in Hawaii.