Jesse grew up traveling the world with his dad, celebrated photographer Andy Katz, tasting handmade pasta in Tuscany, ratatouille in Provence, and—what many will argue is Europe’s most sublime liquid—the rarefied wines of Burgundy, France. It was there in the lavender-ringed vineyards that the art and science of winemaking captured Jesse’s imagination and sparked his lifelong passion. The world took note in 2017 when a bottle of Jesse’s wine called The Setting (a Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc blend) went for a record-setting $350,000 at the Napa Valley Wine Auction. Recently, another bottle of Jesse’s wine set a new record of $1mm at a charity auction.
Jesse developed his winemaking chops at cult winery Screaming Eagle, in his early 20s. Then, at the tender age of 24, he became America’s youngest lead winemaker when he took the helm at Lancaster Estate in Alexander Valley. Earlier, Forbes named Jesse—the first-ever winemaker chosen—to its “30 under 30” list. Recently, Jesse and Andy brought into being a lifelong dream, their jointly owned and operated Aperture Cellars Winery, in the Sonoma County town of Healdsburg. Today, Jesse produces award-winning wines under three labels, Aperture, The Setting, and Devil Proof. Each of these wines has earned 90+ from the world’s leading wine critic, Robert Parker, Jr., and two of them have earned 100.