Our Story



On a family trip to California, my husband, John found himself trying to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew. By tinkering with some unconventional tools, he finally wiggled out the cork, to which my brother responded, “You’re like a sommelier, John.” I misheard him and thought he said, “You’re like a Sauvignon John.” We all laughed and began filling our glasses, but in that moment, John and I had the sparks of an idea.

We returned home to Houston, where John worked in banking and I as an elementary school teacher, and began doing some research on the wine industry. We couldn’t get Sauvignon John out of our head—it was a catchy name that was memorable and didn’t take itself too seriously. John acquired the domain name, and we began to get serious finding out what was required to get into the wine business.

We felt from our own experience that there was a gap in the market. Consumers could buy an $10 wine that tasted like it cost exactly that, or a much tastier $40 bottle, that would end up sitting on the shelf waiting for that perfect “special occasion”. We were determined to create a quality wine that could be enjoyed any day on your pallet, not gathering dust on your wine rack.

John arranged to stay with an old friend out in San Francisco and set back out to California to soak in all the wine knowledge Napa had to offer. In true Texas fashion, he rented out the only pickup truck they had in the lot. Every day he drove his white Toyota Tacoma rental across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Napa Valley until he acquired enough knowledge about wine and the industry to begin working on a serious business plan.

As we started calling on wine brokers in California, we began to realize just how tricky entering this industry might be. We heard from one broker after another that we “had a good idea but our quantities to start were too small to spark any interest”.  After over 100 of these phone calls, we finally came across one woman who decided to take a chance on our new brand. She had recently retired but said she loved us, loved our drive and had a desire to help young, passionate entrepreneurs who wanted to make their way in the wine world.

We were put in contact with vineyards all across the world to source grapes from, but ultimately decided that it was important to us to create a fully American-made brand. We began working with vineyards in the Santa Barbara region of California to harvest grapes and curate our wines. We began with one red and one white – Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.

During this process, we took our samples to countless sommeliers in Houston, seeking their unfiltered opinions. We tweaked the product and the process based on this professional feedback progressively until we arrived at the end product that we have today, which we believe is an exceptional value.

Last step was to create our label. We take pride in the fact that every bit of Sauvignon John is American made. From every drop of delicious wine to each material it is packaged and shipped in, we recognize that opportunities like this are possible due to the country we live in and wanted to showcase these values in our label. The Sauvignon John logo itself was designed to resemble John Hancock’s signature on the Declaration of Independence signed in 1776. The thirteen stars symbolize the original thirteen colonies that fought for their independence during the American Revolutionary War. Throughout our history, these two images have been a popular symbol of American patriotism. 

What began with a missing corkscrew and a misheard comment has led to a life changing adventure into the world of wine. 

We absolutely love what we do and hope you enjoy our wines just as much as we enjoy sharing them with you.



Carly & John Whitehurst


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