Drew Johnson was around wine for as long as he can remember. “My father was a ‘wine geek’ and involved the entire family in his hobby. We had a crawl space under our house in Texas and my dad had my brothers and me crushing grapes in five gallon buckets because we were short enough to fit.” During his childhood Drew’s father was a physician in the military. They lived in Germany and traveled around Europe camping in some of the world’s great wine regions in Italy, Spain, Portugal and France. When the family moved back to the U.S. they came to Travis Air Force Base and settled in Vacaville, CA to be close to the Napa Valley.
One of five boys, all of the Johnson children had a strong interest in science. Drew was accepted to the University of California at Berkeley and pursued studies in computer science and electrical engineering, but he soon realized that life indoors, behind a computer, was not for him. Drew transferred to the University of California at Davis to study and graduated with a BS in Plant Science, Viticulture.
In 1989, Drew joined Beringer Vineyards, and stayed for 25 years. He spent the first 18 as viticulturist for the company’s North Coast properties, providing technical support to the vineyard management team. The last 7 years Drew was the Director of Napa Vineyard Operations for Treasury Wine Estates. In this role he oversaw more than 1700 acres and was continuously evolving operations to maintain and build on the quality of each and every block within those many vineyards.
Drew has been active in many industry organizations, such as ASEV, AVF and the Pierce’s Disease/Glassy Wing Sharpshooter Board. He and his wife, Jessica, are also the proud owners of their own (very small) wine brand, built upon fruit from the family vineyard planted by her father and farmed by Drew. These endeavors have ensured a complete saturation of his life by agriculture and wine and have kept Drew on the cutting edge of viticulture. He is passionate about the collaboration between viticulture and winemaking, and believes that ‘doing what is right in the vineyard’ yields exceptional wines.