Janell Dusi

Janell Dusi

J Dusi Wines (Head Winemaker & Owner)

Bringing J Dusi into the public realm of the wine industry has been a life-long dream for Janell Dusi. She grew up living on a vineyard, participating in grape farming and begging her grandfather to teach her the winemaking process. Her first vintage was at age 16 when she purchased a 15-gallon barrel, a clean trashcan, and some cheesecloth. She and her grandfather spent hours every day looking at the fermenting grapes in the trashcan while he explained what was happening in the bubbling must. His family ran the original “Dusi Winery” in the 1950s. Her family implemented the farming practices of head-pruned vines and dry farming (i.e., no irrigation). Some 65 years later, the Dusi family carries on its farming traditions.

For each harvest after 1996, Janell made one 59-gallon barrel of Zinfandel wine, and each year’s product raised different questions – about high sugar content, too much juice and different elements that made her turn to friends in the wine industry for help and support. She visited the University of California, Davis, while still in high school and thought about enrolling to major in Enology. But when she subsequently toured the campus at the University of California, Santa Barbara, she decided to enroll there, even though she could not major in winemaking.

Janell graduated from Santa Barbara in 2002 and left the U.S. to travel through Australia, the South Pacific, and South East Asia. Traveling made her appreciate San Luis Obispo, which is where she returned in 2003.

It was not until 2005 that she decided to “go for it!” With the encouragement of people who love homemade wine, and knowing that her dream always was to have her own label and travel the world selling it, she took the leap. At J. Dusi Wines, Janell focuses on making Zinfandel and also produces other varietals including Pinot Gris.