Jeff Smith

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Hourglass Vineyard - St. Helena, CA

In the early 1990’s, Jeff observed a paradigm shift in Napa Valley, created by the onset of phylloxera, combined with changing attitudes about winemaking.  Small boutique vineyards such as Screaming Eagle, Colgin and Harlan began pursuing high-end, micro-scale, estate wine brands.  The “cult wines” as they became known, transformed the landscape of Napa and provided a new winery model.  When Jeff’s father passed away in 1990, he took over the family’s four-acre vineyard in St. Helena, and replanted it to Cabernet. He then brought in winemaker Bob Foley and repositioned the business around estate driven wines.  Jeff dubbed the vineyard Hourglass, based on its geography at the pinch of the hourglass shaped Napa Valley. The 1997 inaugural vintage launched to wide critical acclaim.  Hourglass went on to explode in the collectors market and become one of the most sought after brands emanating from Napa Valley.  Based on the success of Hourglass, Jeff added the Blueline Estate to the Hourglass portfolio in 2006. With the addition of a state-of-the-art winery at Blueline, Jeff was able to complete his vision of a portfolio of purely estate-crafted wines. 

Jeff was a founding member of Appellation St. Helena, is very active with Napa Valley Vintners, and has sat on the St. Helena Farmers Market board along with various professional and non-profit boards.  He resides in St. Helena with his wife Carolyn, and two children Isabelle and Holland. 

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