"I was there longer than anyone else at the winery," said Johns. That includes founder William Casey, who sold St. Clement to Japanese brewer Sapporo USA in 1987.
Johns will concentrate on his 1,000-case White Cottage label, made from grapes grown at his 20-acre vineyard on Howell Mountain. He has also recently released a new label called Adella, which will feature Zinfandel, Sangiovese and a red table wine. Johns will continue to consult for St. Clement.
Replacing him on a full-time basis is Bill Ballentine, whose family has been growing grapes in Napa Valley since 1906. In 1992, Ballentine helped his family start its own Ballentine winery, specializing in Zinfandel. However, a family dispute caused him to leave after the 1996 vintage.
Johns and Ballentine have known each other for many years, and both winemakers said they plan no changes in St. Clement's style. The winery is best known for its intense, fruit-driven Cabernet Sauvignon, and it also makes Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
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