After graduation from Oregon State University in 1969, Joel Peterson drove ambulances, travelled around Europe, worked as a research immunologist at the Harold Brunn institute in San Francisco, worked as a clinical lab scientist at Sonoma Valley Hospital and, in his spare time, became a wine writer and wine consultant.
In 1976, Joel founded Ravenswood winery and has shepherded Ravenswood from a small unknown winery producing 327 cases of Zinfandel to a respected, high quality producer of approximately 800,000 cases of red wine. In 2014 Joel returned to his small winery roots, starting the 3,000 case Once and Future winery specializing in hand crafted wines from old vine Vineyards.
Joel was on the Board of Directors for Sonoma County Vintners and is a current member and past president of Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Association. He is a founding Board member and former two-time president of Zinfandel Advocates and Producers. Joel was also a Senior Vice President with Constellation Brands. In 2010, Joel was inducted into the Vintner’s Hall of Fame, and in 2012 he was voted as one of the “20 most admired people in the North American wine industry" by Vineyard and Winery Management magazine. The magazine also voted Joel as one of the “20 most admired winemakers in North America” in 2014.
Joel lives in Sonoma, California, is married to Madeleine Deininger and has three amazing and talented children ranging in ages from 25 to 52.