Les Behrens (aka the Jersey Boy) was born in Perth Amboy, NJ and moved to California with his family as a young boy. Lisa Drinkward was born and raised in southern California but realized that she was a northern California girl when she spent her college years in Humboldt County. Arcata, CA was where Les and Lisa met and were married in 1987. Their mutual love of food and wine led them to create Folie Douce Restaurant in 1991. Lisa explored her creative food side as chef, and Les was able to develop his passion and palate for wine as sommelier and wine buyer. A mutual enthusiasm for wine developed, resulting in the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for their eclectic wine list. This passion and the encouragement from friend and mentor Ed Oliviera prompted Les and Lisa to purchase their first 3 and a half tons of grapes in 1993. Bob and Lily Hitchcock came on board during that first harvest to manage the business and financial machinations of the winery, and Behrens & Hitchcock Winery was officially formed. Les, without any formal training, has been the sole winemaker at Behrens & Hitchcock since its inception, making wine in a style that flows from his great instinct and confident palate. Although Lisa is involved with all aspects of winemaking, during harvest her real focus is on vineyard management and grower relations. After four years of running both the restaurant and winery, Lisa and Les sold Folie Douce in 1997 and moved to Napa Valley to make wine full-time.
In 2005, with the announcement of Bob & Lily’s retirement, Lisa and Les bought out the Hitchcocks' share of their Spring Mountain winery, leading to the formation of Behrens Family Winery. The name Erna Schein on the label is a dedication to Les’ mother, a woman who was near and dear to all who knew her. Her home was a place of hospitality and friendship, a feeling that we try to replicate here at the winery. She was also a fantastic baker, taking after her mother who was a Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef. It is Erna’s original vintage Kitchen Aid pictured on our label. It reminds us that food and wine is our favorite way to create and maintain friendships.