Julie Johnson is the winemaker and owner of Tres Sabores, a winery nestled into the western Rutherford bench land of the Napa Valley. Passionate about food, wine, and the land, for the last 30 years Julie has lived on a certified organic farm, growing wine grapes (Cabernet, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah), pomegranates, lemons and olives, raising her children not to mention Golden Retrievers, Guinea Hens, and sheep.
A native of California, Julie graduated from Columbia University with a BSN, P.H.N. after receiving a B.A. from Bowdoin College. Relocating to the Napa Valley in 1980, she practiced nursing even as she founded Frog’s Leap Winery (with her first husband, John Williams and partner, Larry Turley) in 1981. In 1990 she joined with Michaela Rodeno, then the CEO at St. Supery Winery, and founded “Women for Wine Sense, a vital national organization whose “vision is to support the appreciation for and responsible consumption of wine”.
Julie started Tres Sabores in 1999 as a single vineyard estate and soon began making her own wine. In 2014 Julie and her husband, Jon Engelskirger, an accomplished winemaker, began the “TS Studio" Wine program, exploring appellations outside of the Napa Valley, making Picpoul and St Laurent among other fascinating varietals.
Julie has been an active member of Zinfandel Advocates Producers (ZAP), having served on the Board for many years and as President in 2005. Zinfandel has been a major part of Julie's life as a winegrower since 1981. With 8 acres of heritage Zinfandel growing right outside her front door, she can only imagine how fabulous it would have been to have experienced the earliest days of Zinfandel, California's "own" variety!
She speaks and participates in seminars on the subjects of Women in Wine and Regenerative Farming for a variety of clients and at educational venues around the country. She was a featured panelist at the World Climate Research Programme, AGU Conference. She is currently active in C.C.O.F (California Certified Organic Farms), Wild Farm Alliance, the Napa Vintners and Grape growers, ZAP and the Rutherford Dust Society. At the end of the day, she sleeps best if she feels that she has been a thoughtful and energetic steward of the land and has capped off the day with a good glass of wine!
An intrepid traveler, Julie is very excited to co-host the ZAP River cruise from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam in May of 2023. She is guided by her mission: to discover new wine varietals, delve into regenerative, ecologically wise practices in vineyards and on farms, on and enjoy the best in regional cuisine. This trip is a wonderful capstone to previous journeys around Italy and Sicily, France, Spain, Turkey, and the “Silk Road” through Iran and Uzbekistan. She and her husband, Jon, having recently led the 1st ZAP tour of Morocco in addition to a memorable cruise from Turkey to Barcelona, look forward to the new friends, historical discoveries, active adventures, and the absolutely delicious food and wine that will all be a part of this expedition along the Rhine.