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Element 79 Vineyards

Our Team

Les & Sharon
Les & Sharon Heinsen

Both born and raised in North Dakota with rich farming backgrounds, Les and Sharon have long had a dream of getting back to their roots and owning a vineyard in beautiful El Dorado County and the Fair Play AVA.

Upon retiring from a 38-year career in the insurance industry, Les has made his vineyard owning dreams a reality and takes his many years of experience in nurturing people to now nurturing grape vines. As they say, "you can take the boy out of the country, but not the country out of the boy".

With a hospitality background and a caring and nurturing personality, Sharon is the perfect host and representative for our brand and wines made from the heart.

Together, Les and Sharon are creating exclusive wines with extraordinary winemaking practices seldom employed by wineries in the Sierra Foothills, and even in California.

Scott collecting a wine sample from the barrel.

Scott Johnson

Consulting Winemaker

Scott Johnson was born and raised in the California Sierra Foothills. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Viticulture and Enology from the University of California, Davis and has worked in wineries throughout California and New Zealand. Scott's extensive winemaking resume includes working for Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves in Sonoma; Vineyard 29 in Napa; and Elephant Hill in Hawks Bay, New Zealand. In 2010, he turned his attention back to the Sierra Foothills and became the head winemaker at Perry Creek Winery as well as Element 79 Vineyards.

Scott has been producing balanced wines for wineries in the Fairplay area, imparting innovative contemporary techniques to both showcase his winemaking style and to highlight the region's unique personality and flavors. Scott is in tune with the area’s vineyards and terrain and creates fine hand crafted wines earning 90+ ratings in Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast and numerous other competitions.