The Winemaker : David Johnson
David’s full title is Winemaker/Grape Grower/Owner/Tractor Driver Extraordinaire – but that’s a mouthful so we just call him The Winemaker. In 2019, David was honoured to be named Winemaker of the Year by Tony Aspler’s Ontario Wine Awards.
There was a time in 2003, just after David was named The 2003 Grape King, and Featherstone was designated Vineyard of the Year, that we had to refer to him as Your Majesty. But that’s all behind us now…even though Dave is the only person to have received both a Grape King title and Winemaker of the Year.
David’s farming background and studies in agriculture at the University of Guelph have served as a base for understanding the viticultural practices involved in growing quality grapes. His international experience includes harvests in New Zealand (2007) and South Africa (2016).
The Grande Fromage : Louise Engel
As co-owner, it is Louise’s job to make sure the wine is chilled, the tasting room is restocked and your visit to Featherstone is fantastic.
Louise also comes from a rural background and studied business at the University of Guelph, where she and David met in the 1980’s. Louise runs the office, returns the emails, plans events and works on creating a welcoming atmosphere at the winery, ensuring that your visit will be memorable.
The Administrator : Jane Shook
Jane is Featherstone’s administrative ninja. For more than 10 years, Jane has looked after shipping & receiving, managing the office, ensuring the bills are paid, and much more. Much, much more.
Louise thinks that Jane’s actual job description should be ‘Mini-Me’ and we know too well just how lost the team would be without Jane.
The Understudy: Kevin Qin
Kevin is a graduate of the Niagara College Winery and Viticulture program and since 2016, he has held a variety of winery and vineyard responsibilities at Featherstone… heck, he even gets to feed the sheep in the summer. It’s all in day’s work at the grape ranch. Most importantly, Kevin’s diverse background provides him with the experience and expertise to help craft Featherstone’s fine wines.
The Minister of Customer Service: Treesje Bjorgan
Treesje is our retail co-ordinator, with more than 15 years experience selling VQA wines in the Niagara wine region. Treesje’s creativity and effervescence set the tone in the wine shop. Whether she is greeting customers personally or instilling her warmth and friendly demeanor in the rest of the staff, Treesje is a memorable part of everyone’s Featherstone experience.
The Grape Hound : Tucker
Tucker is an essential part of the team and supervises all operations.
He is a very special breed of Niagara Escarpment Grape Hound (a.k.a. Heinz 57). Tucker is also a very friendly and sweet ‘new Canadian’, meaning that he is a rescue dog from the United States- and he hopes that if you are looking for a dog you will Adopt! Don’t Shop! His day job includes regular breaks for snoozing and as well as being on mousing duty at all times.
The Sheep Labour
Each Summer, Featherstone ’employs’ a small flock of sheep. Their job is to eat the leaves on the vines, thereby exposing the grapes to more sunlight and air circulation.
Sheep are ideally suited to the job of leaf-thinning: they are not interested in eating the tart, unripe grapes. Find out more about our eco friendly farming practices here.
The Grape Guardian: Amadeus
At Featherstone, we are responsible for our vines from the ground to the air. In order to limit the damage that nuisance birds, like starlings, cause to our grape crop, co-owner Louise Engel flies Amadeus, a Harris’s hawk, in the vineyard.
His presence, whether he is catching anything or not, serves as a noticeable deterrent to smaller birds. Find out more about falconry at Featherstone.
Featherstone Estate Winery
3678 Victoria Avenue
Canada, L0R 2C0