Johan Vineyards

Willamette Valley

It took some time, and a pretty hectic career path (from taco chef to rifleman patrolling the Israeli/Lebanese border for the United Nations, with stints as part-time postman, substitute teacher and sanitation worker in between), before Norwegian Dag Johan Sundby found his calling in wine. He subsequently bought Johan Vineyards Estate, a 35-hectare property that sits on gently sloping hills in the Mid-Willamette Valley. The vineyards, which lie adjacent to the Van Duzer Corridor, benefit from gentle afternoon breezes. Winemaker Dan Rinke, who previously worked at leading Santa Cruz property Rhys, brought with him his first-hand experience in biodynamic viticulture as well as traditional philosophy of winemaking. Apart from two vineyards that were planted in 2009, all the others were planted in 2002 and 2003 with a majority of Pinot Noir, followed by Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, and are now Demeter certified. The long growing season combined with meticulous viticulture allows them to harvest grapes that are ripe, with good levels of acidity and properly lignified stems, which is essential since they tend to keep a high proportion of whole-bunch for fermentation.

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