Foley Johnson is named after its owners, Bill Foley and his wife, Carol Johnson Foley. Most of the wine companies the size of Foley's started decades ago, many centuries ago. Bill Foley purchased his first winery in 1986. Today he owns 12 wineries in three countries and is the 20th largest winery in the U.S. with a production of 1.2 million cases. It's one of the most amazing vaults in wine.
One does have to realize that Bill Foley was already a billionaire when he purchased a quaint little winery in Santa Barbara in 1986, but he's a different kind of billionaire. Most want to keep building and become bigger and bigger. Foley embraces the opposite with better and smaller. Most of the wineries he has purchased he has downsized, eliminated marginal parts of the vineyard and upgraded the equipment to make the best wine possible.
His Napa venture is a testament to that philosophy and a major comment on diversity. His winemaker is Giovani Verdejo who was born in Mexico and came to Napa with his family as a child. He grew up and embraced the Napa culture, culminating in a great success story by becoming winemaker for Foley Johnson.
Napa is a large appellation with many sub appellations. There is little argument that one of the best is Rutherford. The so-called "Rutherford dust" is inherent in the wine as is the black plum, cassis, leather and tobacco elements that make it one of the finest Cabernet regions in the world. Only the finest prime rib will do.