Dan & Kim Johnson
For years, Dan dreamed of having a small vineyard in Napa Valley. As a young lawyer in the early 1980s, he handled a case for a well-known winemaker. That experience first sparked an interest that smoldered untended for many years.
He found a kindred spirit in Kim. She was first drawn to the wine business as a college student, and then again when a hospitality PR job brought her to California to learn about dining trends from wine country chefs.
Together they transformed a walnut orchard into a vineyard in 2006. Thanks to great advice from more experienced people, they learned about technical essentials like rootstocks, clones and trellising as they went along. With each season and vintage, the prevailing growing conditions have held them in suspense, and challenged them to keep learning. Every year is different. For people who are used to making things happen in the corporate and legal worlds, allowing nature to take control has been a profound lesson in patience and adaptability - one worthy of lengthy exploration over a glass of fine wine.
Mike began his viticultural career in 1995 at Silver Oak Cellars. There he apprenticed under Justin Meyer learning to farm ultra premium Cabernet Sauvignon. He formed his own company in 2010, and currently manages around 200 acres of vineyard in the Napa Valley. Mike has an A.S. Degree in Viticulture from Napa College as well as a B.S. Degree in Business Management from Pacific Union College.
Mike believes in producing fine wine grapes with small intense berries. He achieves this by following traditional growing methods informed by the latest scientific innovations in stress deficit irrigation, aggressive fruit thinning and proactive nutritional applications.
When Ted realized that winemaking was going to be his life\'s work, he wanted to learn the craft as fast and as well as he could, so he decided to pogo between the northern and southern hemispheres so that he could experience harvest twice a year. He worked in Napa, Australia, South Africa and France, learning different approaches to fine winemaking, and cultivating lifelong friends and mentors around the world. He gradually refined his own style and approach, and launched his brand Olabisi in 2002.
We were lucky enough to meet Ted through friends, and we loved his wines. We liked his traditional methods, because our hope was to bring out the very best in our vineyard, without overworking the wine or blending away its uniqueness. We asked him to taste our four favorite Chardonnays, and said we only wanted to make Chardonnay if we could make one as good. He deadpanned, "We can do better," and he was hired. If you come to Napa, try to get an Okapi barrel tasting with Ted.