James grew up in Bellevue, just down the valley from Betz. During his time at the University of Washington studying microbiology, James attended several wine tastings. The parallels between wine and his field of study sparked a curiosity. James intended to finish his degree and attend dental school. However, when the time came he found that dentistry did not spark the passion he needed in a career.
A boomerang brought James back to wine. Yes. A Boomerang. James has competed in the sport of Boomerangs for 15 years. He has been a member of the US team since 2008, having competed in 6 world championships. James has won 2 titles and in 2018, became the first American to win the individual world title in 20 years. The 2014 World Cup was held in Australia, and it was during his trip there that James was reintroduced to wine. Members of the Australian team invited James to join them for an adventure, touring vineyards on the west coast and tasting incredible wines. When James came home, he threw himself into his new found passion and wine would become his career.
Not long after coming home, James asked his brother Pearce to join him for a wine certification course through the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) based in London. They started at Level 2 and never looked back. In 2019, James and Pearce received their level 4 diplomas (the highest level of education WSET offers). James and Pearce were introduced to Betz through their pursuit of wine. Louis graciously mentored them both; teaching them and helping them understand the nuances of winemaking. When James was offered the chance to work at Betz, he dove right in and continues to learn and grow from the Betz family.