For more than three decades, Jeff Meier has been an integral part of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, working closely alongside Jerry Lohr, and the Lohr family, to build one of California’s most respected estate programs, and a world-renowned portfolio of wines. Today, as the president and COO for J. Lohr Winery, Jeff oversees marketing, operations and production, while also working with Director of Winemaking Steve Peck to ensure the stylistic direction of all J. Lohr wines.
Viticulture has been a part of Jeff’s life since his childhood. Raised in the Bay Area, Jeff would often accompany his parents on wine tasting trips to Napa and Sonoma counties. Jeff fell in love with the beauty and tranquility of the vineyards, which led to a lifelong passion for wine. This passion eventually steered Jeff to UC Davis, where he was inspired to become a winemaker and earn a degree in viticulture and enology.
In 1983, Jeff worked his first harvest at J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines. Recognized for his aptitude and insight, Jeff quickly rose through the ranks until he was named winemaker in 1995. Guiding J. Lohr’s winemaking program for more than two decades, Jeff has championed an approach to winemaking that is rooted in a sense of place, and built on an estate program spanning more than 4,000 acres of vineyards in Paso Robles, Monterey County and Napa Valley. “Our estate vineyards are at the core of our identity,” says Jeff. “Because we have complete control over farming, we can develop each block with the right clones and rootstock, and monitor our yields to maximize grape flavor. Through experience and experimentation, we are able to consistently harvest exceptional fruit, and in turn these grapes allow us to make wines of greater intensity and finesse.”
As J. Lohr’s winemaker, Jeff helped to introduce a global audience to the wines of Paso Robles and Monterey County, most notably through the J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon and Riverstone Chardonnay—both of which are perennial top 5 wines in their categories. He has also been a tireless advocate for research and experimentation, regularly traveling to technical conferences around the world to refine J. Lohr’s viticultural and winemaking techniques. Since being named EVP in 2009, Jeff has contributed to an unprecedented period of success at J. Lohr, increasing case sales by 53%, revenue growth by 60% and net income by 81% between 2009 and 2014—all while helping to make what are widely considered the finest wines in J. Lohr’s storied history.
In 2014, in recognition of his innumerable contributions, Jeff was named J. Lohr’s president/COO. In this pivotal role, he continues to work closely with the Lohr family to identify new estate vineyard properties. He has also helped to oversee the design and construction of J. Lohr’s white wine winery in Greenfield. Jeff’s staunch commitment to making the absolute best wines is reflected in the flavorful depth and diversity of the J. Lohr portfolio, which includes J. Lohr Estates, J. Lohr Vineyard Series, J. Lohr Gesture and J. Lohr Cuvée Series. Jeff is an active member of the American Society of Enology and Viticulture, the Executive Leadership Board at UC Davis and the American Chemical Society.