Drew Horton has been active in the wine industry for over 20 years having started as a wine salesman, he then worked up the wine production ladder from cellar rat to cellarmaster and eventually winemaker starting in 2004. With a BA in Anthropology and early career experience working in kitchens, Drew brings a unique perspective at the intersection of food, culture, and of course wine. He produced award-winning wines in Santa Barbara County, California before moving to Minnesota in 2010 where he began working with cold-hardy, hybrid grapes as founding winemaker for Chankaska Creek Winery. In 2015, Drew moved from commercial winemaking to research winemaking and providing outreach as a field specialist enologist for the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.
As Enology Specialist for the University of Minnesota’s Grape Breeding & Enology Project Drew produces nearly 100 micro-lots of research wine and ciders annually, as well he engages with and provides University and Extension resources to winemakers across the state. This includes trouble-shooting, planning, and evaluating winemaking processes for Minnesota’s Farm Wineries. Drew has broad experience and expertise in winery design and equipment, fermentation techniques, barrel-ageing, filtration and blending. Additionally, Drew offers courses and workshops to appeal to the needs of wine makers, from amateur to professional. Horton says, “I’m a hands-on winemaker, always looking for the best practical solutions to solve wine and winery needs and issues”