Winemaker, Bell Wine Cellars
After spending a number of years in archaeology, a fortuitous series of events brought John to his true passion, winemaking. Leaving his native southern California, John heard the call from the vineyards of Napa, and moved north to earn a Master of Science degree in Viticulture and Enology from U.C. Davis.
Upon finishing his degree at U.C. Davis, John spent some time working in the Cotes-de-Nuits, Burgundy. Returning from France in 2005, John honed his skills as Assistant Winemaker at Provenance Vineyards, specializing in wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc from Rutherford. Several years later, John joined Sterling Vineyards as an Associate Winemaker, heading their production of all white wines and Reserve red wine tier. In May of 2015, John returned to Provenance Vineyards, where he directed luxury production of all Provenance and Hewitt wines. A series of projects helped modernize Provenance into a small-lot, luxury Cabernet house, and created a path for John to Beaulieu Vineyards in 2017, to help them achieve the same goal.
John recently joined Bell Wine Cellars in February of 2020. His previous experiences paved the way to Bell, where founder and winemaker Anthony Bell had recently retired. Bell is an ultra-premium Yountville winery known for small-lot, single clone, Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as other Bordeaux varieties, Chardonnay and Syrah. John hopes to honor Anthony’s vision of craft winemaking and constant improvement, while starting a new chapter with this team.
Country born: United States
Education: M.S. Viticulture & Enology (University of California, Davis)
Years in the wine industry: 15-20 years
As a winemaker in the Napa Valley, I enjoy highlighting the expression of Cabernet Sauvignon as it manifests itself in each sub-appellation. With the amazing patchwork of soil types and sub-climates within such a small area, what we can achieve in this valley is amazing and diverse. With minimal intervention in the winery, we can let the fruit shine because it is so special and expressive. My job as winemaker is to coax the fruit through harvesting, fermentation, and aging into the bottle as smoothly as possible. Making the right decisions throughout the growing season and in the winery allows us to minimize personal impact along the way, and ultimately allows me to bring the art to the blending table to craft the best expression possible.