"Our processes are unusual in that they are very time consuming," says Jill. "To completely hand-sort fruit is the only way to achieve the level of richness, balance, and complexity found in our world-class wines. It's no accident."
With more than 30 vintages under her belt, we are proud to have Jill guide our team in the creation of artisanal, world-class wines. Her focus on gentle handling of the grapes and her impeccable palate are treasured assets. Since joining Lambert Bridge in 2005, she has been dedicated to advancing our facilities and introducing technologically-advanced tools to support her craft, including: 100% French oak barrels, insulated state-of-the-art small fermenters, an in-house laboratory for wine analysis, and our prized “Le Trieur” sorting system which allows us to sort our grapes down to individual berries.
Under Jill’s watch, only fully mature, perfectly-ripe, and hand-selected grapes become Lambert Bridge wines. She spends a tremendous amount of time in the field – evaluating soil nutrients and water-holding capacity, sun exposure and climate data – finding the perfect sites with conditions that enable us to produce grapes with the most complex and concentrated flavors possible.
She shepherds those grapes through their growing cycle, monitoring them, hand-selecting shoots from which to thin fruit and continually tasting individual berries to ensure we pick clusters only at their optimal ripeness.
“Our processes are unusual in that they are very time consuming,” says Jill. “To completely hand-sort fruit is the only way to achieve the level of richness, balance and complexity found in our world-class wines… it’s no accident.”
Growing up in California surrounded by agriculture, Jill began her wine career as a graduate of the prestigious enology program at the University of California, Davis. Throughout her career, Jill has worked both in Napa and Sonoma crafting wines for renowned producers, starting at Beringer Vineyards under the watchful eye of the legendary Myron Nightingale.
Jill enjoyed being mentored through 12 vintages by industry icon Andre Tchelistcheff at one of California’s oldest wineries, Buena Vista. She excelled during eight years at Napa’s William Hill Estate Winery, developing their signature style before being lured to guide the creation of Lambert Bridge’s next generation of wines.
These days, you’ll find Jill out in the vineyards day and night, hand-sorting grapes at the harvest, and in our tasting room meeting with visitors and sharing our story.
"I spend lots of time walking in the vineyard, developing an understanding of every row in every block. It’s this understanding and an integrated approach to winegrowing that allows us to make wines that consistently honor and reflect the essence of the terroirs in Sonoma County."
Born and raised in Sonoma County, Jennifer grew up with Zinfandel in her blood. Inspired by legendary winemaker Zelma Long of Simi Winery – where she worked in the tasting room while studying for her medical school entrance exam – Jennifer left medicine for the wine lab and has never looked back.
In 2010, Jennifer Higgins joined the Lambert Bridge winemaking team after an eleven-year tenure as winemaker at Alexander Valley’s Lancaster Estate. This reunited Jennifer with one of her early mentors Jill Davis – both having worked together at William Hill Winery in Napa Valley.
Now a 20 year veteran of the wine industry, Jennifer's focus on quality and attention to detail starts in the vineyard and the results are delivered in our limited-production, vineyard designated wines.
“I spend lots of time walking in the vineyard, developing an understanding of every row in every block. It’s this understanding and an integrated approach to winegrowing that allows us to make wines that reflect the essence of Sonoma County.”
Jen's commitment to the art of handcrafted wines, her ability to build close relationships with growers, and her expertise on the production innovations makes her and Lambert Bridge the perfect pairing.