Josh Widaman

Winemaker, Lewis Cellars

Josh Widaman

The greatest challenge for me every year is dealing with the time spent away from my family.

Not only does Josh enjoy jazz and folk music, he’s known to be a fan of rock, punk and ska bands.

How many years have you been in the Napa Valley wine industry?

18 years

How did you get started in the wine business?

In 1999 I worked a harvest at Stags’ Leap Winery, this was the hardest job I’d ever had but was also the most rewarding. It propelled me to study Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis.

Which wine was your "a-ha!" wine – the one that made you love wine or inspired you to get into the industry?

1997 Pahlmeyer Merlot. That wine was the perfect embodiment of a velvety rich Merlot that also has power and depth.

Name a Napa Valley vintner who has influenced you and briefly explain why.

Elizabeth Vianna from Chimney Rock Winery. She gave me my first full-time job in the industry, imbued me with a deep respect for winemaking, helped to open many doors for me in my career and I love and respect her like a sister.

What are the most rewarding aspects of your work?

I love how the requirements of my job change with the seasons. From overseeing the vineyards, to tasting for grape maturity, blending and bottling wines. There is never a dull moment.

What are the greatest challenges?

The greatest challenge for me every year is dealing with the time spent away from my wife Adrianne and my daughter Ava. I could not put as much of my heart and soul into this job as I do without their love, support and understanding.

What do you think makes Napa Valley unique compared to other wine regions?

One thing that has always enchanted me about the Napa Valley is the region’s ability to produce wines that can be unapologetically rich and powerful while still resonating with a beautiful balance.

How does your winery help tell the Napa Valley story?

We work with growers all over Napa Valley and become familiar with each vineyard site. By utilizing the distinct attributes of each lot, we blend our wines to be the most seamless expression of each vintage. In this way, each bottling has written its own memoir.

If you could open a bottle of your wine and share it with any three people (living or not), who would they be?

My grandmother, Magic Johnson, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

What's one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I am a huge music fan - growing up in Southern California I was drawn to local rock, punk and ska bands such as Rage Against the Machine, Pennywise and The Aquabats. While I still hold those bands dear to my heart, my tastes have definitely expanded to include jazz and folk acts.

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