Jay James, MS

Director of Trade Sales

Chappellet Winery
Napa Valley, California

An alumnus of Georgia Tech, Jay grew up in Atlanta, Georgia dreaming about playing guitar in a rock band (which he did), flying jets (which he did not) and got into the wine business by accident – like nearly everyone else.


One year after becoming the 32nd American to earn the prestigious and difficult Master Sommelier Diploma in 1997, Jay joined the opening team of the Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas as Director of Wine, where he created one of the most successful commercial wine programs to date. His next move was to Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada, where he remained for the next eight years, ultimately achieving the post of Vice President of Fine Wine. 2013 saw Jay move to the Napa Valley in order to join Chappellet Vineyards as Director of Trade Sales. He guides sales efforts in all trade channels, directing a team of sales managers overseeing the United States and all export markets.


Jay is often a featured speaker at top wine and food events and has appeared in a long list of national publications. He is a member and past officer of the Court of Master Sommeliers and remains actively involved with the organization’s education and examination efforts.  Jay currently serves as Chairman of the Board for The Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation ( He resides in Napa with his 9-year old daughter and an undisclosed number of guitars.