Russian River Valley AVA
A very special brand with wines that are high in quality and affordable to enjoy any day
An ultra-boutique line of value-driven wines, Smokescreen was established by Paul and Marion Johnson in 2008. The brand includes a Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Red Blend from Anderson Valley and Carneros and the wines are crafted with both quality and reasonable price points in mind. The couple also operates a second winery, Fiftyrow, that exclusively focuses on high end Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley’s Rutherford appellation. Both of the winery projects are very limited in production, with much of the wine distributed to select restaurants in the area. When one considers price vs. quality, it is easy to see why both Smokescreen and Fiftyrow have been so successful - these are exceptional wines!
It was Paul Johnson’s lifelong dream to make wine, and after living half of his life in Europe and owning a wine shop for several years, he decided it was finally time to do something about it. His wife, Marion, was born and raised in the Rheingau region of Germany where wine is deeply rooted in the culture, and it was the European lifestyle of food and wine that first brought the couple to Napa Valley in 1998. During their visit, they immediately knew this was the perfect place to pursue their passion. They sought out friend and winemaker Gary Galleron, and together started their first winery project, Fiftyrow Vineyards, in 2003. Their first release came in 2005.
The idea for Smokescreen came about during the recession of 2008. Paul began thinking about various wines he could introduce around the $30 price point and he reached out to his network of vineyard sources. With access to premium fruit from small, under-the-radar vineyards, Paul and Gary were able to secure high quality grapes from the beginning. Over the years, they have worked with several vineyards in Napa Valley, Monterey, Anderson Valley, Carneros and Sonoma. Gary’s winemaking talents have made Smokescreen a very special brand with wines that are high in quality and affordable to enjoy any day, not just on special occasions.
Gary Galleron was born in Rutherford, Napa Valley, and grew up playing in the vineyards, practically with ‘Rutherford Dust’ under his fingernails and Cabernet Sauvignon in his veins. His grandparents, French immigrants Angele and Virgile Galleron, settled in the Napa Valley in 1918 and began the winegrowing legacy that Gary maintains today. Gary has worked on his family’s grape ranch in Rutherford since birth, learning every aspect of the wine industry, literally from the ground up. He has also made wines for some of the most prestigious names in Napa Valley, including Whitehall Lane, Grace Family, Hartwell, Vineyard 29, Del Dotto, and Seavey. Gary also has his own winery brand, Galleron. He has been the consulting winemaker for Fiftyrow and Smokescreen since their first vintages.
In addition to their successful winemaking endeavors, Paul and Marion Johnson’s love of the European lifestyle led them to open a high end specialty food store, Baker & Olive, with a vast array of high quality oils and vinegars. There are currently two store locations, one in Encinitas and another in San Diego.
We are so excited to share this beautiful Pinot Noir with our Garagiste Wine Club members. Cheers!