Niki Williams

Winemaker, Chateau. St. Jean

Winemaker Niki Williams brings a decade of experience from some of Napa Valley’s most revered estates to build on Chateau St. Jean’s rich legacy of winemaking as the storied Sonoma winery’s fifth winemaker.
 
Niki combines a midwestern farmer’s love of the land with a traveler’s thirst for discovery. Raised on her family’s farm outside of Princeville, Illinois, Niki spent her childhood in gardens and orchards, sampling fruit and riding the combine with her dad during harvest. After graduating from Illinois Wesleyan University with an English degree, Niki worked in the travel sector, and was drawn to winemaking through visits to small wineries in Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rioja, Chianti, Piemonte, Rhine/Mosel, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Returning to the states, Niki received her BS in Viticulture and Enology from University of California, Davis.
 
Following internships at Napa’s Franciscan Estate and Stellenbosch’s L’Avenir Winery, in 2012 Niki joined Merryvale Family of Wines as a Custom Crush Coordinator/Winemaker. In 2015 she began as Enologist at Constellation Brands, later advancing to Senior Winemaker during her seven years working across the portfolio on Franciscan, The Prisoner Wine Company and Mount Veeder Winery wines. 
 
Inspired by winemaking greats Cathy Corison and Chiara Boschis, Williams crafts blends that are approachable when young, yet capable of aging gracefully and balance power with elegance. In both red and white wine programs, Niki prioritizes “letting the fruit shine. We work hard to grow the best fruit possible in the vineyard, so I try not to leave my fingerprints all over the grapes.” 
 
Niki will lead the restoration of Chateau St. Jean to its former glory, bringing the winery back into full production with a focus on sub-appellation Chardonnay and Bordeaux blends. 
 
At home in Napa with her husband Nate and their two Boston Terriers, Dottie and Dash, outside of winemaking Niki remains true to her roots: gardening, reading, and travel. In addition, she finds time to volunteer as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate for children in foster care, and the Fair Chance Hiring advocacy.
 

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