Jean Hoefliger believes in reinventing the wheel. A passionate Swiss talent, Alpha Omega’s founding winemaker helped to quickly put Alpha Omega on the Napa Valley map after the winery’s inception in 2006. Shifting to consulting winemaker in April 2019, Jean continues pushing the winemaking envelope. One of Napa Valley’s brightest winemaking stars, Jean reached that distinction by never being static and always doubting himself.
Those two distinguishable characteristics enable him to constantly push forward and progress with each vintage. Zealous about his craft, Jean has mastered not just the art of blending but also possesses an uncanny knack to visualize a grape’s destiny while the berry is still on the vine.
He flaunts a high-risk winemaking style, characterized by long, natural barrel fermentation which takes an average of 10 months — he also often leaves red wines on skins for up to 90 days while most winemakers opt for 21 to 30 days — to create wines that are delicious, intriguing and complex.
Born and raised in Lausanne, Switzerland, Jean inherited his father’s love for wine. The oenophile planned for a career in international finance after a short stint in law school. However, when valuations didn’t fascinate him as much as vin, Jean forged a new path. He began his career in wine working for his godfather, who owns one of Europe's oldest wineries, founded in 1536 and located in Epesses, Switzerland.
Pairing his global wine industry experience obtained while working for the esteemed estates of Château Lynch-Bages and Château Carbonnieux in Bordeaux, Meerlust Inc., in South Africa, Fonjallaz S.A. in Switzerland and Hartford Court in Sonoma’s Russian River with the Swiss degrees in enology and viticulture he earned from the Federal Winemaking School of Changins and in science from the Maturite Federale, Jean brought his skills and enthusiasm to Napa Valley.
Seduced by California’s diverse soil and ability to express his creativity, Jean planted himself at Newton Vineyard in Napa Valley’s Spring Mountain where he spent five years as winemaker until picked by Alpha Omega. Part artist, part mad scientist, Jean helped the new winery quickly make a name for itself and take the Valley by storm.
Jean’s zeal, knowledge, innate ability and scientific training puts him in a unique position to take the best grapes of Napa Valley and transform them into wines worthy of world class standing.
Jean Hoefliger | Michel Rolland