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Teamwork 

At Johnson Estate:
Integrated farm wineries, with retail tasting rooms such as ours, require the cooperation of several groups of loyal employees.  As a group, these individuals are responsible for maintaining the farm and vineyards as well as making and selling our high-quality wines.  They are also in the hospitality business and help to turn visits to the winery and farm into enjoyable experiences where learning, as well as tasting and purchasing wine, occur on a regular basis. At Johnson Estate, these special groups include the following:

     

             Farm and Vineyards                 Cellar/Winemaking & Bottling      Retail Sales
    Victor during 2012 Ice Wine Harvest                   

 

A Special Collaboration Between Owner/Vineyard Manager and Winemaker
At a chateau or estate winery, there is a special collaboration between the winemaker and the vineyard manager/owner – it begins with the selection of the grapes to be grown, a decision that can be planned for several years,  and includes vineyard site selection, pruning methods, fertilizing and sustainability programs, and pre-harvest decisions including de-leafing and de-fruiting to optimize fruit flavors.  It is the winemaker who tests the acidity, Brix levels (sugar content), and flavor profile of the fruit to determine when it should be harvested.  Once the fruit is delivered to the winemaker, it is made into wine, where myriad decisions, including fermentation, blending, and use of oak, result in the ultimate expression of the grapes.


Frederick Johnson, Owner and Vineyard Manager: 
A graduate of Cornell University (BS and MBA), Fred is a third-generation Cornellian who spent over 30 years in management and consulting, in international food companies including Pepsico, Chiquita Banana, and Nature Sweet (tomatoes). 

Jeff Murphy, Winemaker: 
Jeff is a graduate of Penn State with a degree in Food Science.  He has worked at Glenora Wine Cellars in the Finger Lakes, and helped start Arrowhead Cellars in North East, PA.  Jeff has been Johnson Estate’s winemaker since 2003 and has introduced eight new wines during his tenure there, including Port and Sherry, fruit wines and sparkling wines.  Many of these wines have won gold medals in international competitions along with numerous silver and bronze medals.  Jeff enjoys making wines that are approachable, food-friendly and elegant.  He has a distinct Germanic tilt to his preferences and style of winemaking, eschewing excessive oak and permitting the terroir of the grapes to be revealed in our wines.  He regularly attends Pro Wein, held annually in Dusseldorf, Germany, and visits equipment suppliers and wineries elsewhere in Europe.