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  • J. Lohr Winemaker, White Wine Kristen Barnhisel Nominated for Wine Enthusiast 2023 “Winemaker of the Year” Wine Star Award

    KB Wine Star

    San Jose, Calif. – September 15, 2023J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, a pioneer in establishing the world-class reputation of Monterey-grown wines, is excited to announce the nomination of Winemaker, White Wine Kristen Barnhisel for the prestigious Winemaker of the Year, Wine Star Award from Wine Enthusiast. The annual Wine Star Awards recognize individuals for their outstanding achievements in the wine and alcohol beverage industry. 

    We are a family-owned company that values leadership, experience, and a willingness to experiment; we are proud to see Kristen’s hard work and artisanship recognized with an accolade of this magnitude,” says Steve Lohr, President & CEO of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines. Her innovation and commitment to quality help drive our industry-leading, cool-climate Chardonnay and white wine programs in Monterey County.” 

    Barnhisel brings two decades of viticulture and winemaking experience spanning three continents to her role as winemaker of the J. Lohr white wine portfolio. Kristen’s international experience includes being one of the first women to work harvest at Ruffino in Tuscany. She has also held coveted internships at Warwick Wine Estate in South Africa and Opus One in Napa Valley. At Long Vineyards in Oakville, Kristen gained invaluable knowledge working alongside her mentor and family friend, Zelma Long. 

    Today, Kristen Barnhisel oversees J. Lohr’s Greenfield Winery in the Arroyo Seco appellation of Monterey County. The winery opened in 2014 and is located where founder Jerry Lohr first planted grapes in 1972. Known for her gifted palate and technical skill, Kristen works closely with J. Lohr Vice President, Winemaking Steve Peck. Together, they collaborate to continuously improve quality and interpret the Monterey sense of place provided by 

    J. Lohr’s sustainably farmed vineyards. Steve Peck notes, Kristen’s intuitive sense for wine, coupled with her measured and nuanced approach to blend construction, make her an ideal candidate for this award.” Kristen’s leadership extends beyond the winery; she also gives her time to many industry organizations, including serving on the American Society of Enology and Viticulture board, where she was the group’s president from 2019 to 2020.

    It’s an incredible honor to be nominated for a Wine Star Award. I am very grateful to the Lohr family and especially Steve Peck, my manager and winemaking partner, who is always challenging and encouraging me. A huge thanks to all of my incredible J. Lohr teammates who’ve supported me throughout my winemaking journey,” says Barnhisel. 

    To see the list of all the 2023 nominees, please click here. The winners of the Wine Star Awards will be announced later this year.