A native Californian, Randle attended the University of California at Davis and graduated with an M.S. in Viticulture in 1974. As a Viticulturist and assistant winemaker at Souverain Winery, he gained first-hand knowledge about Napa Valley’s diverse microclimates and their influence on wine characteristics.

In 1977, Randle became the Vineyard Manager and Cellar Master for Mayacamas Vineyards, on Mt. Veeder in the western ridgeline of Napa Valley. This experience fostered an intense interest in the unique attributes of mountain grape growing. At Mayacamas, he experimented with producing elegant wines using gentle winemaking techniques like pigaege to tame the mountain tannins.

Randle then took a position as Winemaker at Stags’ Leap Winery in 1980 for two years. He joined the emerging winery of Donald Hess in 1983. Randle continued to hone and refine his winemaking style to create elegant wines with great complexity, depth and structure for the next 37 years at Hess. In 2002, Randle and Donald worked together to rebuild Bodega Colomé in the Salta region of Northern Argentina. He spent over 15 harvests at Colomé working with Malbec, Bonarda and Tannant. Also in 2002, Randle began the Artezin portfolio at The Hess Collection. It was an heirloom and heritage varietal brand, specializing in Zinfandel and Petite Sirah and also included the rare eclectic varieties of Carignan, Mouvredre, Charbono and Verdelho.

In 1979, Randle began Calafia Wines, named after the queen of California. Early on, he specialized in Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa and Sonoma sides of the Mt. Veeder ridge. In 1991, Randle began making Malbec, creating a new direction in his style, and planting Malbec in his personal vineyard. Also in 1991, Randle and MaryLee were married next to this estate vineyard in St. Helena. Together, they have expanded the Calafia portfolio to include Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, an Estate Bordeaux Blend, Verdelho and Rosé.

Randle has also been active with Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP), serving on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee since 2012.

  • Randle G. Johnson

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