Jay Heminway, groundbreaking Zinfandel winemaker and founder of Green & Red Vineyard in Chiles Valley has died from complications following surgery. Jay was always a part of ZAP from our very first tasting held in San Francisco at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in 1992, where he poured the 1989 Green & Red Estate Zinfandel and the 1990 Green & Red Estate Zinfandel.
I really got to know Jay through Julie Johnson in the early 2000s. Julie was recruiting wineries in Napa Valley and had invited Jay to attend a lovely picnic lunch at her winery in Rutherford, held under the shady trees. By then, Jay was a winemaking institution in Napa and his endorsement of ZAP meant a lot to prospective members. In his quiet, unassuming way, he added such standing to the world of Zinfandel, not just because his wines were so impressive, but also because he was thoughtful, caring and passionate about his craft. Throughout the years, Jay continued to carry the torch for Napa Valley Zinfandels at ZAP events and beyond. We emphasize what distinguishes a ZAP tasting is the winemaker that is often standing behind the table. And, there was Jay at the last ZinEX Grand Tasting in San Francisco pouring his latest releases.
Thanks to the support of our members, we’re grateful to have captured Jay on video when he was interviewed by Joel Peterson at the 2017 Flights, sharing his story of how he got the winery started.
We send our sincerest condolences to Jay’s family, including his wife Pam, and daughter Tobin Heminway. They will be taking over Green & Red’s operations, along with winemaker Mike Penn and vineyard manager Salvador and family who will continue Jay’s legacy. Jay will be deeply missed.
ZAP, Executive Director