While working as a chemist in a food science laboratory doing grape and wine research in his native New Zealand, Jeff Keene was both intrigued by wine and certain that he did not want to spend his days in a white lab coat under fluorescent lights. He returned to university and attained a Postgraduate Degree in Enology and Viticulture at Lincoln University in New Zealand.
After working several vintages at Selaks Winery and Palliser in Martinborough New Zealand he came to the Napa Valley as an intern in the late 90’s for Havens Wine Cellars, where he stayed on rising to assistant winemaker then winemaker. Under his guidance Havens Wine Cellars was recognized as a pioneer and leading producer of wines from cooler climate vineyards.
After Havens he joined the Peter Franus Wine Company, which gave him the opportunity to work with vineyards throughout the Napa Valley under the able mentoring of renowned winemaker Peter Franus, whose thirty years of Napa Valley experience where an incredible resource to advance his winemaking knowledge and experience. In 2008 he joined Cornerstone Cellars as winemaker.
Under Keene’s guidance, Cornerstone Cellars has transformed its winemaking program. Building on twenty years of respected wines, Keene has pushed the envelope farther for Cornerstone Cellars introducing critically acclaimed white and rosé wines and breathing new life into the Cabernet Sauvignon program by introducing Cabernet Franc and Merlot into the blends and moving Cornerstone's wines in a more elegant style in the tradition of the great wines of Europe.
Jeff Keene’s winemaking philosophy is straightforward, “to produce wines that reflect site, appellation, respecting traditions and to make wines we love to drink.”
Contact Jeff Keene by email