Visit Napa Valley is proud to celebrate the diversity of our business community. In this installment of our Pride series, meet Dan Johnson, founder and owner of Napa Valley's Okapi Wines, a micro-boutique winery that produces just a few barrels of wine each year. We sat down with Dan to find out how being a member of the Black community inspires him, he and wife Kim's favorite things to do in Napa Valley, and more. 

Visit Napa Valley
Can you tell us about what inspired you to live and work in Napa Valley?

Dan
As a young lawyer I met Dick Arrowood, then the winemaker for Chateau St. Jean, while handling a legal matter. After the trial, he invited me to visit the winery, and that fateful introduction to wine and wine country living led to a desire to - eventually - make Napa Valley my home.

Visit Napa Valley
How does being a member of the BlPOC community impact or inspire your work?

Dan
Whether in a courtroom or in the vineyard, I've always felt the importance of showing young people greater possibilities for themselves. Being one example that helps someone else create a more ambitious career path or persevere to achieve their dreams, whatever they may be, inspires me.

Visit Napa Valley
What are some of your favorite things to do in Napa Valley?

Dan
The cultural richness of Napa Valley makes it a wonderful place to live, and my wife Kim and I love Festival Napa Valley and the Napa Valley Film Festival, and we've seen some incredible performances at the Blue Note, BottleRock and other venues. I love taking my camera out to try to capture the amazing views all around us. Of course we never get tired of the restaurants and wineries, and we really look forward to returning to our favorite places in the coming weeks and months.  

Visit Napa Valley
How did you choose the name Okapi? 

Dan
We named our wine Okapi because we were drawn to the story of the animal, and thought it a lovely symbol of our relationship. The word itself is somewhat abstract, since many people haven’t heard of okapis, and we liked that camouflage for our new brand. Part of the joy of wine is the discovery of something new, especially of something rare that has been around for a long time, undiscovered.

Visit Napa Valley
Anything else you'd like visitors to Napa Valley to know about Okapi Wines? 

Dan
We always encourage visitors to tap social media to discover micro-boutique wines like Okapi, and find out about venues and special events that might present opportunities to taste wines like ours that don't have tasting rooms of their own. It is also a good way to learn about the values behind the brands. For instance, we want people to know about our sustainable vineyard and winemaking practices, and our support of wildlife conservation, so we often talk about these topics online.


Stay tuned to meet more of Napa Valley's diverse tourism business community! Looking to support Minority and LGBTQ+ owned businesses? Check out the lists below. 

Support Minority-Owned and LGBTQ+ Owned Napa Valley Businesses: 

Wineries 
Brown Estate
Okapi Wines 
LVE Wines
Darjean Jones Wines
Domaine Curry Wines
Charles Woodson Wines 
J. Moss Winery
Twentyfour Wines Tasting Room
Yao Family Wines
Mi Sueno Winery
Ceja Vineyards
Kieu Hoang Winery

Restaurants
The Q R&B 
Buster’s BBQ
Small World
La Chevre
Morimoto
Tarla
Hal Yamashita Napa
Tanya’s Taqueria
Clemente’s Takeout
Napa Valley Bistro
Protea 
Emmy Lou’s Diner
Tacos Chavez
Sweet Straw
Ben & Jerrys Downtown Napa

Lodging, Spas & Salons, and Personal Services
The Inn on First 
Chateau de Vie 
Blue Water Day Spa
The Parlour Salon
Little Blue Box Weddings

Did we miss businesses on the above lists? Email janette@visitnapavalley.com to let us know!

 

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