Jillian (Johnson) Phoenix

Jillian (Johnson) Phoenix

Onesta (Winemaker & Owner)

Jillian Johnson Phoenix discovered her passion for wine with majoring in neurobiology at the University of California, Davis. The experience of home brewing introduced her to the magic of fermentation, and taking the “Introduction to Winemaking” class at Davis prompted her to switch her major to Viticulture and Enology. Following the award of her degree in 2001, she interned at Bonny Doon Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Jillian furthered her education in winemaking with extensive travel to and experience in wineries internationally. For example, she visited the southern hemisphere to work additional harvests in order to learn how to work with different varietals and to observe different styles of winemaking. Her overseas experience included internships in South and Western Australia (McLaren Vale andMargaret River, respectively) and in South Africa (Stellenbosch).

Syrah became her deepest passion and upon returning to Bonny Doon in 2005 as Associate Winemaker, she focused her talents on producing the Rhone varietals for which the “Dooner” is known. While there, she had a major role in the transition to biodynamic winemaking at the winery.

Now a seasoned winemaker, Jillian is transitioning the Phoenix Ranch vineyard to a biodynamically farmed source of wine grapes. She assumed the role of winemaker for Phoenix Ranch with the 2009 vintage and is producing Syrah, Viognier, and Cinsault there. She now also has her own winery, Onesta, and is producing Viognier, Grenache Blanc, and Cinsault, among other varietals.