History Of Helena View


Helena View Johnston Vineyards is located on Highway 128 just five minutes north of Calistoga in the eye of Mt. St. Helena in a fertile area noted for producing exceptional red wines. Helena View specializes in bordeaux style reds, namely Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Winemaker and proprietor Charles Johnston, has within a few short years produced award-winning vintages from his organic vineyard property and from other select vineyards in Calistoga, Rutherford, and St. Helena.
Charlie purchased his vineyards and 130-year old redwood farmhouse from his father in 1987 (The farmhouse was crushed by a valley oak tree in 1997, and is in the process of being rebuilt). He immediately devoted his energy to obtaining certification of the vineyard as organic and designing the winery site. The grapes from the Helena View Johnston Estate Vineyard are certified organic as specified by the California Organic Foods Act of 1990.
Ground breaking for the winery and tasting-room occurred in August 1988 and construction was completed in 1992. As a strong believer in integrating nature into one's working and living environment, Charlie designed the northern exposed winery to sit among mature trees tucked into the side of a knoll. Taking advantage of the earth as a natural coolant, the following year a cave-like structure for barrel aging and storage was added.
Charlie's early introduction to wine came in Saratoga, California via his orthopedic surgeon father, who as payment from a grateful Novitiate winemaker patient, found himself with a cellar full of premium wines. While initially intrigued by the wine labels, teenage-Charlie's interest later evolved into a true passion.
Upon completion of his graduate business degree from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) in Phoenix, Arizona, Charlie embarked on a rewarding career with Sunkist Growers which encouraged his natural affinity for agriculture and agronomy, essential for grape growing. At Sunkist, and later as Vice President of Continental Flavors, Charlie developed skills as a trained palate in beverage and food evaluation.
After over 30 years of amateur winemaking and serious collecting, Charlie decided to relocate from Southern California to the Napa Valley to pursue the winery project as the culmination of a lifelong dream. He attributes his past professional experiences and his lifetime interest in wines as essential to his success as a winemaker.
Today, Charlie is a Branch Vice President at Morgan Stanley in Napa. Evenings and weekdays are devoted to grape growing and winemaking, while marketing trips are planned throughout the year to promote the winery in distribution locations around the country.

Helena View wines are available direct from the winery and are distributed in the Chicago, Georgia, Oklahoma, and North and Central Florida markets.