Who We Are
The crew at Triangle Wine Country are long-time locals who know the Portland area very well. Thus, if you’re visiting the Portland area or you’ve just relocated here and you need a few recommendations, we are more than glad to help. This is our home, and we look forward to sharing it with you from the perspective of a WSET Certified Personal Sommelier and “getting personal about wine” with you.
Dan K. Johnson
Dan K. Johnson, Proprietor
As a young boy, my grandparents had vineyards in California. Around age six I moved from California to North Idaho. Several years later I returned to California to live with my father in Paso Robles. At 21, I moved to Atlanta to harvest my fruit. My first career was in the fitness industry. In fact, I taught group exercise classes for 38 years and competed successfully in many fitness competitions.
At 30, I moved back to the Pacific Northwest and pursued my love of accounting and finances as my next career. However, my passion for wine never stopped and I completed my first wine course in 2002. After completing my MBA in 2006 I went on to complete my Level Two course with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), passing with Merit and later my Level Three Advanced course. Currently, I am pursuing my CSW and Certified Wine Educator (CWE) designations.
Now living in Portland for more than 20 years, Triangle Wine Country began in 2014 as my third and final career (thus the name Triangle Wine Country). Simply put, it was time to get back to wine. Our interactive wine tours and classes allow us to “get personal about wine”. This unique approach makes wine more approachable and enjoyable.
I look forward to meeting you soon.
Emily Bowler, Office Manager
Since growing up among the vines in California’s Sonoma and Russian River Valleys, I’ve always been fascinated by wine and winemaking, and although I have spent the past few years in the beer industry, I am now excited to be getting back to my roots in the wine industry.
My love of the alcohol industry came from spending nearly a decade living in the UK, where I immersed myself in the pub and beer culture. As a trained historian, I focused my research on the relationship alcohol has had on society throughout the ages, and wrote my thesis on the impact the dissolution of the monasteries in England had on the beer industry in the 1500s. And while I always enjoy my drinks, I have always been a firm believer in education in the industry and of the industry. Alcohol has played such an important role in our development as a society and the growth of community involvement, and I believe that it is important that we respect that and support local, craft beverages to continue that tradition.
I moved to Oregon in 2014 to work in the alcohol and tourism industries, hoping to combine my love of both education and drinking, and managed a beer tour business for several years. I am now in the process of obtaining my Masters of Teaching so that I can continue to teach others… always with a glass in hand, of course.
My first taste of a visit to wine country was in the rolling hills of the Hunter Valley in Australia. My gateway to wine was picturesque, jammy, and juicy. It was the early 90’s and I was young. Several years later, immersed in the corporate consumer packaged goods grind, I made time to study wine with the state-accredited International Wine Guild in Denver, Colorado. The best part of studying wine is clearly the practice it takes to learn your craft! I found myself making international adventure travel plans that included more of those picturesque wine country moments and chose destination triathlons and century bike rides near US wine country. It wasn’t long before I had to admit, I was bitten by the wine bug. Several wine courses and an International Wine Guild Sommelier certification later, I left the corporate world and found myself nose-in-the-soil in the famous vineyards of Europe. While in London, I studied with the Wine Spirit Education Trust where I earned my intermediate certification with distinction. Following, back in Colorado, I worked on the retail floor in a shop known for “grower” Champagne and a notable selection of nearly 5000 wines. I moved on to work with a young new distributor to open up the competitive Boulder market.
To be closer to the vines, I moved to Oregon in 2015 with my heart set on discovering and contributing to all of what the “front lines” of the wine industry had to offer. I took on harvest work and learned the history of the Willamette Valley while teaching others in a tasting room.
I believe wine is best enjoyed with others. Don’t be surprised to hear me quote my favorite scene in Sideways, “the occasion is the bottle.” Cheers!
“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.” I won’t attempt to say it better than Galileo. There is nothing else I do on a regular basis that can take me away to another year or place in the world so quickly as having a glass of wine. It is such a beautiful experience of the senses from the moment the bottle is open until the first sip. And so on.
I started drinking wine in Idaho in the late ’90s. I loved my Chardonnay buttery, my Cabs loaded with new oak, and maybe a Fumé Blanc from time to time. Sure my tastes have changed a bit, but the excitement of finding what wine speaks to me has not. Now, I’m in love with the smell of Muscat because it reminds me of the orange tree blossoms in the yard of the house I grew up in. Whenever I smell it, I’m 5 years old playing in the sunlight in San Diego. Wine will take you places once you let it.
Once in Portland, I worked for some lovely restaurants and my wine knowledge expanded a great deal. There have been so many wonderful people along the way who shared a fact, story, food pairing, or a bottle with me. I would not have the brain for wine that I do had it not been for all the dedicated people I learned from in my 15 years in Portland restaurants. But I wanted more. About 2 years ago, I started WSET 2 and met my teacher, the fabulous Mimi Martin. I passed level 2 with distinction and more recently level 3, one of the more difficult classes I’ve taken, with merit.
I currently work for three incredibly talented local winemakers as a sales representative. I live in SE Portland with my husband and goof-ball son.