The Legend





Johnson Harriss was born to Edward Harriss II and Mary “Polly” Johnson in Charlotte County, Virginia, on 28 December 1769. He grew up in colonial America as a farmer, and was the backbone of my family in the early years of American life.


Johnson moved his family from Virginia to North Carolina to South Carolina to Tennessee and finally to southern Illinois…where I grew up. “Old Grand-father Harriss”, according to the DuQuoin Weekly Tribune on the occasion of his death, survived both the Revolutionary War and the U.S. Civil War and lived to age 99.


He was the paternal ancestor of a progeny numbering 364. 12 were his children; 106 grandchildren; 237 great grand children; and 12 great great grand children.


This wine is a dedication to his life and my family.

The Winemaker



John Livingston

John Livingston, Winemaker

I’ve been in the wine business for over twenty years, but I’ve never really been satisfied with drinking wine.  I want to search its depths.  Soulful wine will drop clues and sensations, but will always keep you in awe and without words.  It tells you stories and unlocks the imagination.  It will transport you to old vineyards and to the fathers of fathers.  And its this side of wine that is my passion


It was born in me while flipping through the pages of Kermit Lynch’s Adventures On the Wine Route.  Kermit was one of the first to travel the back roads of France to find small, high quality wine producers he could sell in America.  Inspired by the stories, I soon began unearthing these kinds of producers myself, getting my start by working for an importer on the east coast.  Now, almost ten years later, I have the great privilege of representing some of earth’s finest wines.


Johnson Harriss Cabernet Sauvignon was born out of my desire to create a wine inspired by my winemaker friends. The opportunities to use their amazing cellars to make wine is unique, and I love to create something for people to enjoy!  As far as the name, I discovered this name as my mother and I were discussing our Harriss family history. Johnson Harriss was the first generation Harriss from Wales, born in Virginia in 1769. As Johnson Harriss was the first of my family in America, I hope you enjoy another part of my history.”

The Wine




I am so excited about the 2014 Johnson Harriss!  For my second vintage of this project, I discovered some amazing fruit from the mighty Pacific Northwest, and I can’t wait for you to taste it!  I had rare access to some of the best cellars in Washington State to do my blending.  The result, in my estimation, is nothing short of mind-blowing!


The Blend.  Washington State excels at merlot and syrah.  But it’s different than California merlot and syrah given its latitudinal similarity to Bordeaux, France.  And that’s kind of the theme of this wine: more like St.-Emilion than Napa Valley.


After many hours of blending, we concluded assemblage by selecting 50% merlot, 26% syrah, 17% cabernet franc and 7% cabernet sauvignon from some incredibly prestigious vineyards in Washington.  Throughout our blending process, we added more and more cabernet franc.  It tightened up the wine and produced a much more floral character in the aroma.


The Vineyards.  The majority of the fruit came from the Stillwater Creek Vineyard in the Columbia Valley.  This vineyard is on the Royal Slope in the Frenchman Hills, which is very climatically diurnal (hot afternoon/cool evening), giving the wine high levels of phenolic ripeness while retaining acidity.


We found about 20% of the merlot from the Conner Lee Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope in Columbia Valley.  Connor Lee merlot is a fresh style of the grape, which is exactly what I was looking for in my base.


20% of the entire blend came from the Dineen Vineyard in the Yakima Valley.  This is where the cabernet franc and syrah came from.  Yakima is more north and a cooler region.  This was the portion that we kept adding to the blend to make the whole wine more structured and floral in aroma.


A Little Help From My Friends.  My buddy Drew Voit, owner and winemaker of Harper Voit in Oregon, helped me with the blending of the wine.  It was like two chefs in that winery!  So much fun.  And Todd Alexander, former winemaker at Bryant Family in Napa Valley, and current winemaker at Force Majeure in Washington, assembled the wine for me.  Todd is a flat out stud.


Tasting Notes.  The blend reminds me of Right Bank Bordeaux.  It is structured and fresh, a serious wine, not flabby.  Yet, at the same time, it is incredibly enjoyable now.  The profile is loaded with dark red fruits with blueberry tones, spice, cedar box.  The body is plush, rich and long, yet still drives down the middle with acidity and freshness.




Pairing Notes.  From a pairing perspective, you will want to match with anything from the grill, red meat, and cured meats.  But this is delicious on it’s own too.  From a cheese perspective, attack some aged Cheddar, Cheshire, Comté, aged Gruyère, aged Gouda, Pecorino, Manchego, Asiago, or Parmigiano Reggiano.  And, of course, kettle-cooked potato chips fit the bill nicely.

Wine Locator

Passion Vines Wine Stores

265 New Road | Somers Point, NJ, 08244

Phone: (888) 601-VINE (8463)
Store Hours:
Open 7 days a week 9am to 10pm.

Wineworks Wine Stores

319 W Rte. 70 | Marlton, NJ, 08053

Roots Restaurants


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Tabor Road Tavern Restaurants


Roots Restaurants


Huntley Taverne Restaurants


Trap Rock Restaurant and Brewery Restaurants


3 West Restaurants


Fiorino Restaurants

38 Maple St. | Summit, NJ, 07901

Restaurant Serenade Restaurants

6 Roosevelt Ave. | Chatham, NJ, 07928

Knife and Fork Restaurants

3600 Atlantic Ave. | Atlantic City, NJ, 08401

Princeton Corkscrew Wine Stores

49 Hulfish St. | Princeton, NJ, 08542

Amanti Vino Wine Stores

30 Church St. | Montclair, NJ, 07042

Bottle Shop of Spring Lake Wine Stores

1400 3rd Ave. | Spring Lake, NJ, 07762

Stockton Fine Wine Wine Stores

17 Bridge St. | Stockton, NJ, 08559

Joe Canal’s of West Deptford Wine Stores

1075 Mantua Pike | West Deptford, NJ, 08096

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John John Livingston Owner / Winemaker
Hello! I'm always interested to hear from people about my wine. Please, jot down your thoughts and send them along. Thanks!