Jeff Cole Description
Nestled in the heart of Napa Valley, Jeff Cole, the accomplished winemaker at Sullivan Rutherford Estate, is a driving force behind the creation of exceptional wines that embody the spirit of the region. Since joining the estate in 2013, Cole’s journey has been a testament to his passion, expertise, and commitment to excellence.
With a foundation built on experience and an intimate understanding of the estate, Cole’s story at Sullivan Rutherford Estate is one of continuous growth and dedication. His early years at the winery saw him working closely with renowned vineyards across Napa Valley, interacting with luminaries like Scott McLeod, a consulting winemaker with a prestigious background. Recognizing Cole’s talent, McLeod offered him the role of Assistant Winemaker, a pivotal position that allowed Cole to refine his skills and absorb the intricacies of sparkling wine production.
After two years of collaboration, Cole took the reins in 2015, assuming full control over the winery’s production. His leadership ushered in a new era, marked by an unwavering commitment to crafting world-class Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from the estate’s acclaimed Rutherford vineyards. According to Cole, the potential offered by Sullivan’s terroir is unparalleled, setting the stage for creating wines that stand out on the global stage.
Born and raised in the Napa Valley, Cole’s connection to the region runs deep. His entry into the wine industry was a natural progression, fueled by a childhood surrounded by the vineyards and the rich winemaking heritage of the area. Reflecting on his journey, Cole emphasizes that success in the industry demands hard work and persistence, a sentiment echoed in the Napa Valley Vintners’ motto of “cultivating excellence.”
Beyond his winemaking endeavors, Cole is actively involved in preserving and enhancing the Napa Valley legacy. As part of a family-owned winery, he highlights the freedom to prioritize making the best wines possible while maintaining sustainable practices and community engagement.
In a nod to his influences, Cole credits Scott McLeod for helping shape his winemaking style as he transitioned from sparkling to Cabernet. This mentorship underscores the collaborative and supportive nature of the Napa Valley wine community.
For Cole, the most rewarding aspect of his work lies in crafting Cabernet Sauvignon from an appellation renowned for producing some of the world’s finest wines. However, his surprising revelation of watching “The Bachelorette” with his wife adds a touch of humility to his profile.
Looking ahead, Cole envisions Sullivan Rutherford Estate as a custodian of Napa Valley’s story. The estate’s rich history, dating back to 1918, reflects the enduring legacy of the land. Under Cole’s guidance, the winery continues to build upon this heritage, ensuring that each bottle tells a story that is quintessentially Napa Valley.