Craig Jaffurs, Owner & Winemaker
Craig has been making wines since 1989. He is a refugee from the aerospace industry where he spent 17 years as a cost analyst. He worked as a cellar rat at Santa Barbara Winery for five harvests where Bruce McGuire, their winemaker, began prodding Craig toward a career in wine. Several home winemaking vintages and a few classes at U. C. Davis later, the winery was born. When his first wine, the 1994 Santa Barbara County Syrah got rave reviews in Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate, the future was set. Craig is not looking back. Away from the winery, Craig loves surfing, fly fishing, and bonsai.
Dan Green, Owner & Winemaker
Dan was born and raised in Washington DC. He left his life as a Management Consultant to pursue wine by enrolling in Fresno State University Enology Program in 2010. From there, he spent several years learning from esteemed winemakers up and down California. Dan met Craig in 2016, and Dan soon found himself and his family committed to joining the Jaffurs team.
Dave Yates, General Manager
Dave has a B.S. from UCSB in Computer Science and worked for two decades in the aerospace and the internet industries. Passionate about food wine, Dave completed culinary and wine classes at the Culinary Institute of America and UC Davis. He has helped Craig make wine since the Jaffurs garage and Central Coast Wine Services days. In 2003, Dave joined as General Manager and became the winery’s first real employee. Although Dave now focuses primarily on winery business, sales, and marketing efforts he continues to be winemaker for several wine projects. When not at the winery you can probably find Dave paddleboarding, skiing, or on a culinary adventure.
Matt Brady, Winemaker
Matt joined the winery in mid-2005 after his graduation from UCSB. With a great deal of passion, Matt immersed himself into everything we do. He’s now an indispensable part of our operation with over 12 vintages under his belt, plus a vintage in Australia’s Barossa Valley. Through the years Matt has served as our Cellarmaster, Assistant Winemaker, Co-winemaker, and in 2015 was promoted to head Winemaker. Matt’s passionate about live music, and when not crushing grapes there’s a good chance you may catch him rocking out up the street from the winery at the Santa Barbara Bowl.
Stephen Searle, Cellarmaster.
Stephen joined the Jaffurs team in 2012. A graduate in Wine and Viticulture at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, he has experience working harvests throughout California. Stephen is an integral part of our day-to-day winemaking, has helped to build out our in-house wine lab, and can also be found providing expertise in the Tasting Room.
Lee Wardlaw (Jaffurs), Owner.
Lee is an award-winning author of more than two dozen books for young readers. Lee’s newest book, Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku (Holt, ages 4 and up), which received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist and School Library Journal, tells the beguiling story of a wary shelter cat and the boy who takes him home. Won Ton recently won the prestigious Bennett Lee Hopkins National Poetry award. Look for Lee’s latest picture book Red, White, and Boom in the book stores today. To learn more about Lee and her books, visit her website or e-mail her.
Leslie Thomas, Wine Consumption Specialist
Leslie spent 25 years in the software industry, starting to dabble in the wine biz towards the end, and then focusing on wine & food/wine pairing ever since. She has worked weekends at Jaffurs since 2003. Many locals attended the almost 70 BYOB winemaker dinners she organized from 2008-2013, and after that the dozens of cooking classes she conducted around town. Most recently she was heavily involved in planning and executing the 5-day Central Coast Wine Classic. Leslie has her own backyard vineyard and organic veggie garden, which is where she spends much of her free time. She loves to talk about food & wine pairing, and makes it a point to know the wineries all over SB & SLO counties.
Curtis Taylor, Tasting Room Technician
Curtis first became familiar with fine wine while touring Europe as guitarist with several French and German bands. More recently he poured at Beckmen Vineyards for two years before joining Jaffurs Wine Cellars over three years ago.
David Swanson, Tasting Room Technician
Dave caught the wine bug bad in 2007 after a friend of his asked him to help make wine. Newly laid off after spending 25 years as a software engineer, Dave enrolled in the Viticulture & Enology program at Alan Hancock Community College. That same year Dave planted a small vineyard on his property. His 2012 Slippery Slope Vineyard, made with grapes from his home vineyard, was awarded a gold medal at the Santa Barbara County Home Wine Competition. Since then he has worked at a handful of wineries, both in the tasting room as well as the cellar. He joined the Jaffurs team in April 2015. You can find him at the winery most every Monday.