How to Make Wine with Julie Johnson: Bloom (VIDEO)
Winemaking 101: In Bloom
I have had my share of bad jobs back in the day: waitress, overnight traffic producer, tour guide, infomercial host, I even attempted to sell knives to make a few extra bucks one summer. Yes, I have had my share of crappy gigs and this my friends is NOT one of them! I have been invited to embark on a wine journey where I get to learn how to make wine from one of the Napa Valley’s top winemakers. For me shadowing Julie Johnson, is like a 12 year old boy shooting hoops with Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan for all you L.A. haters out there. To learn what it takes to make wine from a woman at the top of her game and get to capture it all on camera, is well as they say priceless!
If you don’t know Julie Johnson, she is the owner and winemaker of Tres Sabores Winery in St. Helena, and this is far from her first time at the rodeo. Julie Johnson, along with John Williams, and Larry Turley, founded Frog’s Leap Winery. Then Julie teamed up with Michaela Rodeno, former CEO at St. Supery Winery, and started “Women for Wine Sense”, the ongoing national organization whose vision it is to support the appreciation for, and responsible consumption of wine.
While this is an in depth and lengthy look at the winemaking process, my goal is to help keep it as viewer and consumer friendly as possible. I don’t have a degree in Viticulture or Enology and I’m guessing most of you don’t either. But you don’t need a Master’s Degree to master the art of loving wine and wanting to learn what really goes on behind the bottle. What does it truly take to transform a budding vine into an amazing bottle of wine? That is the million dollar question we look to answer and I hope you will take this journey with Julie and I. Our first video begins with bloom, then our winemaking video series will continue as the grapes ripen into berries, then harvest, fermentation, then it’s off to the barrel and eventually the bottle.
Meanwhile back at the ranch, the certified organic winery was in bloom. Surrounded by the “Holy Trinity” of pomegranates, olives and grapes, I was greeted by the sounds of goats crying, dogs barking and birds chirping. We start in the vineyard where the life of the wine begins and hopefully ends if it all goes as planned. Julie is a wine aficionado in the purist form, she believes that wine is truly a reflection of place, as you will hear her talk about when you watch this video.
You can call Julie many things: a purist, a lover of the land, a ranch hand, a chef, a nurse, a winemaker, and a mother. But for the next year or so, I will call her a helper, a teacher, a mentor and maybe one day I will even get to call her a friend.
***Special thank you to Jo Diaz thinking of me for this educational and meaningful project***