Our Founders

Susan & John in 1997 in the then new Oakstone Winery tasting room.

John Smith, the Founding Owner and Winemaker of Oakstone Winery and Obscurity Cellars, has a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry and spent his professional career in the design and development of scientific and medical instruments. Until his retirement as Chief Scientific Officer at the LifeScan division of Johnson & Johnson, he held the position of Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at San Jose State, where he taught Advanced Analytical Chemistry and a course entitled "The Chemistry of Wine." Susan retired in May of 2007 from a career as an educator at West Valley College in Saratoga, where she taught College Reading and was Chair of the Reading Department. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in Reading. 

Oakstone Winery was opened in March of 1997 by John & Susan Smith and operated on Slug Gulch Road until July 7, 2012, when the original winery building was destroyed by a fire of undetermined origin. It was re-established in September of the same year at the Obscurity Cellars wine making facility at 6470 Irish Acres Road, just 1/4 mile away. After the move, John and Susan sold the winery to Steve and Liz Ryan, trusting them to carry on the tradition of excellence of  both Oakstone Winery and Obscurity Cellars.

The pair now has a home in Portland, Oregon, where they will be spending the majority of their time in retirement, but will visit periodically to bring down a new assortment of Oregon beers!