In thinking about what it means to own a family winery and farm, designated as a Century Farm in 2018 by the NY Agricultural Society, Fred and Jennifer say: “Perhaps the best part is the appreciation that we can—in building and creating new traditions on this century farm—continue to be stewards of the family land, its business, and our community in ways that leave each in a little better condition than we found it.”
Fred is a third-generation Cornellian who spent over 30 years managing and consulting for international food companies before returning to the family farm in retirement. He met his wife, Jennifer, at the Cornell Johnson School of Business.
Jennifer, an avid gardener, has planted perennial, fruit, and herb gardens around the farmhouse. She has worked in the finance industry, studied historical architecture restoration, and spent several years volunteering her time to the region's wine trail, "Lake Erie Wine Country".
(Photo Credit: Elmore DeMott)
Winemaker Jeff Murphy, and owners, Fred and Jennifer Johnson, together make the important decisions relative to the type of grapes to be grown at Johnson Estate. Jeff monitors the acidity, Brix level (sugar content), and flavor profile of the grapes so they can be harvested at peak ripeness. He oversees the winemaking process of crushing, fermentation, blending, and oaking, striving to express the unique flavor of each grape varietal. Jeff has a Germanic tilt to his style of winemaking, revealing the terroir of the grapes by forgoing excessive oak. He has introduced multiple new award-winning wines to the winery's inventory, including Port and Sherry, liqueurs, and rosé. Jeff graduated from Penn State, worked at Glenora Wine Cellars in the Finger Lakes, and helped start Arrowhead Cellars in North East, PA before joining Johnson Estate in 2003.
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