Our Winemaker

Wes Hagen is the Winemaker and Brand Ambassador for J. Wilkes Wines in the Santa Maria Valley, California. In 2013, Michael Cervin (Wall Street Journal, Decanter) rated Wes as one of the 100 Most Influential Winemakers in the United States (#68).

Wes worked as Vineyard Manager and Winemaker at Clos Pepe Vineyards and Estate Wines in the Sta. Rita Hills for 21 years and is considered an industry leader in Santa Barbara Wine, having served for more than a decade on the Board of Directors for both Santa Barbara County Vintners and Santa Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance.

Wes is an accomplished wine writer, researcher and lecturer; He has written for the L.A Times Magazine, Sommelier Journal, Burgundy Report and has
appeared and been featured / quoted numerous times in the Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate and Wine Enthusiast. Wes researched, wrote and had approved the last three AVA’s in Santa Barbara County: Sta. Rita Hills, Happy Canyon and Ballard Canyon.

Wes taught the Food and Wine Pairing program at Allan Hancock College for four years and has lectured on the History of Wine and Santa Barbara Wine at Cornell University, Caltech and many, many other prestigious institutions. His most recent achievement is having been nominated for a TED-talk on the History of Wine.

Wes has an active and impressive social media following on Facebook (Wes Hagen), Twitter, Instagram and Delectable (@weshagen).

Every wine deserves an hour at table, delicious food and two people in love. Wine cannot be fully understood unless all three of these conditions are met.