Wine Director, Nerano, Beverly Hills


Samantha Johnston, a native of Wisconsin, moved to California after completing her studies in Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In pursuit of her artistic passions and love of fashion, Samantha spent her first years working in the costume departments of Hollywood film sets and for Los Angeles-based fashion labels Krisa and Lanston. During this time she discovered that another passion – an influence from her college days – would change her direction.


During college, Samantha and her friends frequented a local French bistro that offered half- priced bottles on Monday nights. The opportunity allowed her to discover a multitude of vintages from the many regions on the bistro’s wine list.  In Los Angeles, her interest in wine helped her secure a position at Vintage Enoteca in West Hollywood. During this time, Samantha dove deeply into the academic side of wine- receiving her Sommelier Certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers and her Advanced Award from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET).


While Samantha pursues her next level of accreditation and works toward her goal of becoming a Master of Wine, she works full time as the wine director at Nerano, as well as overseeing the wine programs at sister restaurants, Toscana and Bar Toscana in Brentwood. Samantha doesn’t play favorites with wine varietals, and likens them to friends, stating, “You have different friends for different occasions, and it’s the same with wine. I love wine because it brings together the many different things you love – family, friends, food and tradition. It can be really nerdy when you talk about the scientific aspects of winemaking…but in the end we love it because it just tastes so good.”


Visit Nerano and meet some of Samantha’s friends.