David is co owner and winemaker of Featherstone Estate winery in Vineland Ontario. Louise Engel is his partner and wife. Originally an accomplished amateur winemaker, his passion eventually led him away from his day job - running a gourmet food shop - and into the vineyards of Niagara. He now tends to 23 acres of vines and the vinification of the harvest at Featherstone Estate Winery. He has done so with a great deal of success.
David and Louise purchased their vineyard in 1999. Although it was an operating vineyards They have made a few changes over the years. Planting Merlot and Pinot Noir.
The Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc, that was planted in 1986, were left to thrive as was the Riesling, which was planted in 1978 . The Riesling is some of the oldest in the Niagara Escarpment.
Winemaking and grape growing are both scientific and intuitive processes.
In 2003 David was names Grape King and the winery Vineyard of the year. Their wines have won more awards than we can list. In 2015 Joy 2011won the Sparking wine of Year award at the Canadian Championships. The 2014Black Sheep Riesling won a double gold.
As both vineyard manager and winemaker, David Johnson is able to work throughout the season to enhance the grapes' natural attributes, ensuring that at harvest balanced wine is produced with minimal winemaking embellishments.
"To do my job as winemaker, I need to be involved in the grape growing. There are so many decisions that affect the flavours and quality of the wine". A crucial decision is when to harvest and this is determined by tasting the grapes for the perfect balance of acid, sugar and desired flavour profiles. Harvesting the fruit at its peak is essential to David, and this control is a key advantage for small wineries.
Featherstone has been insecticide free since 1999 and is committed to environmentally sustainable winegrowing. David has been presented with the Premier's Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence.