The Artisan

There’s a revolution stirring in California winemaking. A move to overthrow the technical and tactical approach in favor of a more artisanal expression that allows the true nature of place to shine through. Robin has entrusted winemaker Jim Kress with the expression of Edna Valley through the wines of Tolosa.

Motivated by an early desire to put his stamp on a wine from start to finish, Jim found himself immersed in the sciences of agriculture and chemistry that allowed him to fulfill his creative instincts through crafting wines of balance, depth and complexity. His fascination with differing soil compositions and the impact of local climates has led him on a pursuit to understand how these factors influence the resulting wines. After an undergraduate degree from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, his passion for food and wine eventually led him to the UC Davis Masters of Science program in Enology and Viticulture. During his subsequent tenure at Domaine Chandon, his interest in Pinot Noir was kindled. Jim is enticed by the intricate dance required of the craft of Pinot Noir—the challenges in the vineyard and cellar of this fickle grape and the exquisite rewards it offers—as well as its versatility in pairing with food and complementing a variety of culinary trends.

Now, after 20 vintages spent honing his technical mastery with wines from some of California’s most prestigious appellations, including Napa Valley, Los Carneros, Russian River Valley and Santa Rita Hills, Jim is eager to explore Edna Valley and to dig through its unique soil compositions to create wines which express the singularity of this marvelous terroir.

Tolosa partner and consulting winemaker Jean Hoefliger has been on his own journey to uncover the secrets of terroir in disparate parts of the globe.   Jean’s mix of scientific training, passion, and obsession with craft has made him one of the true voices of the New California wine revolution.

Jean was born and raised in Switzerland, and after receiving his degree from the Swiss federal school of Changins, he worked in Switzerland, Bordeaux, and South Africa at the estates of Chateau Lynch-Bages, Chateau Carbonnieux and Meerlust. He then moved to California, spending five years as the winemaker at Newton Vineyard before joining Alpha Omega. As the winemaker at Alpha Omega, he is creating wines that are a remarkable mix of Old and New World and recognized as some of the finest representations of the terroir that is Napa Valley. He also is continuing to pursue the artistry of world-class Pinot Noir that distinguished his tenure at Newton, Hartford Family Winery and Armanino Family Cellars, and during his early studies at the Fonjallaz family’s Swiss vineyards.