AJ Pearce is a boutique wine project that was started by great friends, Andrew Renda and Jarred Pearce. Andy and Jarred met in 2005 when Andy hired Jarred to work alongside him at Vintner’s Collective in downtown Napa.
Prior to Andy’s career in wine, it was a love of food and the restaurant industry where he first gained experience. Like many others, his first job was as a dishwasher for a gourmet caterer in his hometown. By age seventeen, he began cooking at The Country Club in Brookline MA, which is home to three US Opens, and the 1999 Ryder Cup. It was there where he was first introduced to the pairing of haute cuisine and world class wines. After several years in the food industry, front and back of the house, he chose to start his quest to obtain more knowledge about the world of wine and spirits. The next eight years were spent helping to manage retail wine shops in the Boston area. His exposure was not just limited to California wines, but to a broad spectrum of global offerings. Countless hours were spent tasting in order to gain a more refined palate and true understanding of what the world of wine has to offer. This passion for a lifelong career in the wine industry was set in motion, and it was time to relocate. Andy and his bride to be Kelly, sold all of their belongings and packed a car to make the pilgrimage from Boston to Napa, no jobs, just a destination, the legendary Napa Valley! They made a temporary home in a rental cottage as Andy pursued his dream, putting his passion and knowledge for wine to the test. The better part of the next decade was spent as the Director of Sales of Vintner’s Collective surrounded by top boutique producers. More importantly over that stretch, Kelly and he got married and now have two beautiful children Maxwell and Adelaide. His family is his driving force.
Jarred’s wine career started when he moved to Napa in 2004, and began selling wine at Oakville Grocery. It was here that he was able to develop his palate and meet many winemakers from all around the valley. It didn’t take very long after meeting a few winemakers to realize that he also shares their passion for art, science and agriculture. So the following semester, he enrolled in Napa Valley College and began studying Viticulture and Enology. In 2006, he became cellar master for Pina Cellars in Rutheford for two years. It was at Pina that he learned the beauty of creating single vineyard cabernets, from different regions of the Napa Valley. During his time at Pina, he was able to sneak out to South Africa for harvest in 2007 and 2008. In South Africa he had the pleasure of working at one of the country’s top wineries, Anoinij Rupert Cellars, with world famous consultant Michel Roland. Upon returning from South Africa in 2008, he became cellar master of Fantesca Estate and Winery. At Fantesca, he was able to work directly with two of the valley’s top winemakers, Heidi Barrett and Phelip Melka. He was able to work with the wines of Lail, Marston, Parallel, Au Sommet and Fantesca. “Working in a facility where wines from Philippe Melka and Heidi Barret are made side by side is an experience that everyone dreams of.” Says Jarred. He takes all of his world-wide experiences and blends them together to create his own style in AJ Pearce.