It wasn’t until I was sitting for the second day of the three day bar exam that I decided that I had trained in the wrong industry. Of course most law students don’t survive the three years of law school without becoming some what of a wine and spirits expert. So as I sat at that table, surrounded by 300 other stressed out bar exam takers I allowed myself a short daydream about who Jason Holman would be in ten years. I saw purple fingers stained from the production of a tasty glass of wine. I saw shoes caked in dirt from walking in the vineyards. And I saw myself falling into bed at night physically and mentally exhausted from the day-to-day challenges innate to a winery.
After convincing my wife, Helen, to move to Napa, California (where she’s originally from so there wasn’t too much convincing), I was fortunate to land a harvest position with renowned winemaker John Kongsgaard. The learning curve that first harvest was almost vertical and I loved every minute of it. I learned how to listen to the grapes, the vineyard, and the weather. Not to mention that I learned how to make a really great bottle of wine.
By the Winter of 2008 I was officially hooked. I traveled to South Africa to work on a harvest during the Napa offseason. Helen joined me at the end of harvest and we spent a month winetasting and touring South Africa. I highly recommend the trip. Upon returning I was again fortunate to work for two amazing winemakers, Ken Bernards of Ancien Wines and Andy Erickson of both Ovid and Favia Wine.
Fast-forward three years. I eat, drink, and live wine. And I love what I do. I am developing a small family wine label, which focuses on unknown varietals found in the hillsides of northern California. Additionally, I manage Tournesol Wine, a small local winery here in the Coombsville region of Napa. And finally, but most invigoratingly, Manuel and I are having so much fun traveling to France, meeting small, family owned wineries, and bringing the wines back to the United States.
I live in the Napa Valley with my wife, Helen, our 2 year old daughter Marina, new baby boy Duke, and our dog Deco. We live next door to my in-laws and my family travels from Seattle multiple days a month to help during harvest. I am excited to represent these small French wineries because they are doing exactly what I am trying to do: work, live, and thrive as a small family wine business!