Jill Olson grew up in St. Helena, where her parents produced grapes for wineries such as Beringer, while she played alongside the children of fellow vineyard families. Nevertheless, spirits run through her veins. After years of experimentation at home and taste testing with friends and family, in 2011 she and husband Doug launched Sonoma Coast Spirits in Petaluma.
Doug handles sales and marketing while Jill concentrates on product development. Their children even play a role, sometimes helping with production or pouring at special events.
The Olsons returned to Sonoma County in 2003 after starting their family in Denver.
“We wanted to live in a charming town but also be close to everything,” Jill said. “Petaluma was perfect for raising our kids because it is ideally situated and also offers a great sense community.”
Prior to prohibition, Jill’s great grandfather, Leonardo Dioguardi, operated a winery in Sebastopol. However, his grappa distillery piques Jill’s interest most. Grappa is made by distilling the skins, pulp, and seeds leftover after pressing grapes for winemaking.