Dave Johnson graduated from Michigan State University in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. He worked five years at Ford Hospital and Research Institute in his native Detroit, before returning to Michigan State in 1975 to pursue a master's degree in the Grape and Wine Program. As Dr. G.S. Howell's research assistant, Dave found himself heavily involved in viticulture research, the operation of Michigan State's pilot winemaking facility and cooperative research works with several Michigan wineries. Making wines from new grape varieties at the university's research center became his No. 1 priority.
"It's been gratifying to receive so much attention on wines like Norton and Vignoles, but I'm very happy with the success we've had on our sweet wines.... I pay as much attention to my Concord and Pink Catawba as I do the Norton-and I think it shows." - Dave Johnson
After obtaining his master's degree in 1978, Dave, upon Dr. Howell's strong recommendation, traveled to Hermann, Missouri, where he became winemaker for Stone Hill Winery. In the past 34 years, Dave's winemaking expertise and penchant for perfection has earned him and Stone Hill Winery the industry's highest accolades. The most awarded American winemaker outside of California, Dave was named Winemaker of the Year in 1994. In 2002, he received Missouri's Pioneer Award for his outstanding service to the state's grape and wine industry. Dave's dedication to his craft is clearly evident in his ability to produce quality award-winning wines consistently year after year. Stone Hill Winery routinely ranks among the top awarded wineries in the nation and has earned seven Missouri Governor's Cup awards since 1994.
When he's not working, Dave pursues his two favorite hobbies-golf and scuba diving-with the same tenacity that makes him one of the best winemakers in the country.
Dave Johnson bio [pdf]