The Grande Dame of American Sparkling Wine, Jamie Davies, Passes Away
It is with much sadness that the Department of Viticulture and Enology remarks on the passing of Jamie Davies. Jamie, who with her late husband Jack, left a very successful life in Southern California in the early 1960s to pursue a dream of making world-class sparkling wines in California. They bought 220 acres of forested land on Diamond Mountain, near Calistoga, and within a few years, had produced their first wine, a 1965 Blanc de Blanc which was the first commercial use of the now-famous Chardonnay grape. Their success with Schramsberg was almost immediate, such that in 1972, then-President Nixon took their wines to Beijing on a state visit. They were so well-received that Schramsberg sparkling wines have been served at state functions in the White House in every subsequent administration since that time.
Both Jack and Jamie were supporters of the University of California; their son Hugh, who runs Schramsberg now, received his Masters Degree in our Department. At such a difficult time for both the family and for California's wine industry, we wish to express our gratitude, and our sadness, to the entire Davies family. Jamie Davies is an icon and we celebrate her contribution to the American wine culture.