January 2009

Jayson Woodbridge

By: Anthony Dias Blue

A former banker invests in Napa

Jayson Woodbridge in the vineyards at Hundred Acre.

Jayson Bakes a Cake
With the ongoing success of Hundred Acre, Jayson Woodbridge turns his attention to Layer Cake

Jayson Woodbridge grew up in Canada. “I spent half of my life in southern Ontario,” he tells THE TASTING PANEL. “I was an investment banker in Toronto. We basically financed Canada’s top oil companies.” His work afforded him an introduction to wine. “Oil guys like drinking good wine.”
Jayson Woodbridge in his cellar.

Jayson decided he was destined to make wine, but before he could take that step he knew he had to “save a bunch of money.” He went about amassing a nest egg, and in 1999, he retired. At age 35 Jayson Woodbridge moved his family to the Napa Valley and became a farmer.

He called his winery Hundred Acre and it was a success right from the start. Reviews from Robert Parker and others with scores in the mid-90s established Jayson’s wines in the rarefied company of Napa’s most valued cult wines. His two Cabernets—Kayli Morgan and Ark—were selling for more than $200 a bottle.
“I wanted to show people what we could make for $15 to$28 and have it taste like it’s $60 or $70.”

“This high-level success was satisfying,” says the vintner, “but I wanted to show people what we could make for $15 and have it taste like it’s $60 or $70.” So Layer Cake came into being, a line of wines made in various regions of the world and selling for around $15 to $28 a bottle. “My grandfather gave me my first glass of wine,” Jayson explains. “He told me wine was like my grandma’s layer cake—layers of flavors, aromatics and textures. The cake is also a symbol of things handmade.”
“My grandfather told me wine was like my grandma’s layer cake—levels of flavors, aromatics and textures. The cake is also a symbol of things handmade.”

The Layer Cake line-up consists of a Cabernet from Napa, a Malbec from Argentina, a Shiraz from Australia and a Primitivo from Puglia. There was originally a French Syrah in the mix, but Jayson found the French difficult to deal with. “No wonder they have a revolution every hundred years.” There won’t be a French wine in the future.
Layer Cake Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon works beautifully with hearty food. Bottle photos taken at The Grill on the Alley.

The Shiraz is the powerhouse. “There’s never enough,” Jayson explains. “It sells out right away.” The Shiraz comes from 17 acres of low-yielding vines planted in the Barossa Valley. The Malbec fruit hangs on the vine a month longer than other vineyards, making it richer and more intense.  “California Zin lovers will love the Primitivo,” says Jayson. “It has all the nuances of Zin with a touch of a new land.” In 2007, Jayson added a Napa Valley Cabernet to the line that retails for under $30.

Layer Cake has hit the market with the same dramatic splash as Jayson’s Hundred Acre wine did several years ago. By all appearances, Jayson Woodbridge is very happy in his second career.

Hundred Acre and Layer Cake are marketed by Vintage Point, Sonoma, CA.



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