Kristen Barnhisel

Kristen Barnhisel

J. Lohr (Winemaker)

Kristen Barnhisel grew up surrounded by the world of wine, with her father being a home winemaker and her mother a microbiologist at Simi Winery in Healdsburg, California.

Kristen attended the University of California, San Diego, where she studied biology and Italian literature, earning a B.A. degree in the latter major in 1994. After graduating, she worked a harvest at Ruffino Winery in the Tuscany region of Italy, the first American and first woman to do so.

She returned to the U.S. to enter the M.S. program in Food Science/Enology at the University of California, Davis, receiving her degree in 1997. She then worked at several prestigious wineries, including at Columbia Crest Winery in Washington in 1997 as enologist, and as assistant winemaker at Jordan Winery and Belvedere Winery in California in 1999 and 2000, respectively.

In 2004, she joined Handley Cellars in Anderson Valley Mendocino County as co-winemaker with Milla Handley, subsequently moving on to Inglenook in mid-2013 as quality control manager. There, she was charged with ensuring that the winery’s flagship wines, Rubicon Cabernet Sauvignon and Blancaneaux, a white wine, were of the highest quality and most elegant style. Kristen then joined the winemaking team at J. Lohr in mid-2015, where she is in charge of producing the winery’s white wine.

Kristen is part of the leadership team for the American Society of Viticulture and Enology (ASEV) and will be serving as its president in 2019–2020.