Wine Grower

Benziger Family Winery

  • Contact:
  • Jennifer Seekon
  • Email:
  • jseekon@benziger.com
  • URL:
  • http://www.benziger.com
  • Phone:
  • (707)935-4068
  • Mobile:
  • Vineyard Address:
  • 1883 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen, CA 95442
  • Vineyard Management Company:

Grower/Family:

The Benziger family has been growing grapes on Sonoma Mountain for close to thirty years. Eldest brother Mike and his wife Mary discovered this vineyard in the late seventies and purchased the property with the help of parents Bruno and Helen Benziger. It soon became a real family affair when brothers Joe, Bob and Jerry joined the business, followed by sister Patsy and her husband Tim. The youngest siblings, Kathy and Chris came along with Bruno and Helen and spent their high school years as New York transplants in a Sonoma vineyard. Mike:"It's a life's work to make a wine that is ultimately connected with a place and the people who farm it," asserts Mike, who has worked in the wine business his whole life. Even while growing up in New York, Mike worked for his father, Bruno Benziger, a wine and spirits importer. After college, he moved to California and began working at the fine wine shop Beltramos. His appreciation for wine grew and led him to a winery apprenticeship in 1978. "I learned the wine business at the foot of the master," Mike reflects. "I was fortunate to have great mentors. When you learn in this way, you learn more than information--you learn respect and reverence for wine and vine." Bob: In 1981, brothers Bob and Joe Benziger sold their successful wine shop in upscale Scarsdale, New York and moved west to help launch Benziger Family Winery. Initially responsible for wine distribution and sales, Bob built a critically important wine distribution network east of the Mississippi. Later, he turned his energy to managing sales on the West Coast and business development for the winery. Today, Bob is in charge of customer relations for Benziger Family Winery. Chris: Still in high school when the Benziger family moved from White Plains, Chris finished his senior year in the wine country. He went on to earn a degree in marketing from the University of San Francisco while spending summers, weekends and every spare moment working at the winery. He officially joined the Benziger Family Winery in 1993 as a brand manager. In addition to sales responsibilities, Chris also oversees the home ranch and its many farm related duties, i.e. shepherding the Benziger flock of sheep and cows, tending to the estate vegetable and fruit trees, and producing the biodynamic preparations for all our vineyards. Chris feels that the only way to communicate the quality of the wines he promotes is by having the soil from the vineyard in which he’s endorsing under his nails. The best impress a winemaker can leave on his wines are his footprints in the vineyards. Kathy:The youngest of Bruno and Helen's seven children, Kathy first came to work at the winery when she was a high school freshman. Soon after, she was pruning, picking, bottling and working in the tasting room. Kathy learned about the wine industry from the ground up and decided to make her mark in the business end of the operation by earning a degree in management from Sonoma State University. She then worked in sales positions at ADP in New York and Hoffman Distributing in New Jersey, preparing her for a move back East, where she would be the Benziger eastern region sales manager for 12 years. Today, Kathy lives in Sonoma with her husband Todd and is in charge of customer development in the sales and hospitality departments. Joe:In the early 1980's the Benziger family migrated west from New York and started a winery on Sonoma Mountain. After a few years of helping his family make large production wines for their Glen Ellen brand, Joe decided that there were some vineyard lots that were just too good to get lost in a big blend. He set out to showcase these special vineyard sites in a series of small artisan wines. As Imagery evolved under Joe’s direction, the emphasis on limited-production wines adapted to focus on lesser-known varietals. As he discovered rare wines, Joe became passionate about unusual grapes and the Barbera within was unleashed.

Vineyard Overview:

At Benziger, we’re about three things: family, great wine and healthy vineyards. For more than thirty years we’ve searched Sonoma County for the most distinctive and expressive vineyards. Once found, we tended these sites using certified Biodynamic, organic and sustainable farming methods. The result is a portfolio of authentic and memorable wines.

In the mid-90′s, Mike Benziger befriended a man named Alan York who was, and still is, one of the leading international experts on Biodynamic farming. In this ultra-organic approach, the vineyard is viewed holistically. Chemicals and artificial inputs are eliminated and natural balances are re-instated. With Alan’s help, we learned which flowers attracted the bugs we needed to keep pest populations in control. Habitats were created for birds and owls, and we brought cows, sheep and chickens to live on the property.

Once the estate found its balance, the wines did too. As we tasted the wines grown from such a healthy and vibrant place, we realized that the distinctiveness and authenticity we were lacking before was right in the glass. Healing the land had led to an amazing new caliber of wines and we knew we had to begin applying the lessons learned on our estate to all the vineyards we worked with.
Around 2001, Mark Burningham, VP of Winegrowing and the only non-Benziger Partner in our company, put together a sustainable farming program for all of our growers. Within it, he created protocols and metrics and guidelines that would help a farmer tailor a sustainality plan to his specific vineyard, one that would require him to make progress each year towards an ultimate goal of organic or Biodynamic certification. Since 2007, Stellar Certification Services has audited our program each and inspects all the vineyards that hold its certification.

Today with over a dozen Benzigers active in our winery business, our family is committed to this philosophy now and for generations to come.

Grapes for Sale:

Blocks:

Title of Planted Area:

Paradiso de Maria, Saddle Sauv Blanc, Block # 3

Varietal:

Sauvignon Blanc

Select

Block Acreage:

1.49

Block Clone:

Sauv Blanc, CL Sonoma Cutrer

Block Elevation:

Block Name:

Paradiso de Maria, Saddle Sauv Blanc, Block # 3

Block Rootstock:

110R

Block Slope %:

Block Soil Type:

Block Vineyard:

Benziger Family Winery

Block Yield:

Trellis Type:

Lyre

Block Overview:

At Benziger, we’re about three things: family, great wine and healthy vineyards. For more than thirty years we’ve searched Sonoma County for the most distinctive and expressive vineyards. Once found, we tended these sites using certified Biodynamic, organic and sustainable farming methods. The result is a portfolio of authentic and memorable wines. In the mid-90's, Mike Benziger befriended a man named Alan York who was, and still is, one of the leading international experts on Biodynamic farming. In this ultra-organic approach, the vineyard is viewed holistically. Chemicals and artificial inputs are eliminated and natural balances are re-instated. With Alan's help, we learned which flowers attracted the bugs we needed to keep pest populations in control. Habitats were created for birds and owls, and we brought cows, sheep and chickens to live on the property. Once the estate found its balance, the wines did too. As we tasted the wines grown from such a healthy and vibrant place, we realized that the distinctiveness and authenticity we were lacking before was right in the glass. Healing the land had led to an amazing new caliber of wines and we knew we had to begin applying the lessons learned on our estate to all the vineyards we worked with. Around 2001, Mark Burningham, VP of Winegrowing and the only non-Benziger Partner in our company, put together a sustainable farming program for all of our growers. Within it, he created protocols and metrics and guidelines that would help a farmer tailor a sustainality plan to his specific vineyard, one that would require him to make progress each year towards an ultimate goal of organic or Biodynamic certification. Since 2007, Stellar Certification Services has audited our program each and inspects all the vineyards that hold its certification. Today with over a dozen Benzigers active in our winery business, our family is committed to this philosophy now and for generations to come.

Watering Techniques:

Dry farmed in the vineyard

Wineries You Sell To:

Title of Planted Area:

Joaquin's Inferno, Zinfandel, block # 8a

Varietal:

Zinfandel

Select

Block Acreage:

1.31

Block Clone:

Greenwood Ridge

Block Elevation:

Block Name:

Joaquin's Inferno, Zinfandel, block # 8a

Block Rootstock:

St. George

Block Slope %:

Block Soil Type:

Block Vineyard:

Benziger Family Winery

Block Yield:

Trellis Type:

head

Block Overview:

At Benziger, we’re about three things: family, great wine and healthy vineyards. For more than thirty years we’ve searched Sonoma County for the most distinctive and expressive vineyards. Once found, we tended these sites using certified Biodynamic, organic and sustainable farming methods. The result is a portfolio of authentic and memorable wines. In the mid-90's, Mike Benziger befriended a man named Alan York who was, and still is, one of the leading international experts on Biodynamic farming. In this ultra-organic approach, the vineyard is viewed holistically. Chemicals and artificial inputs are eliminated and natural balances are re-instated. With Alan's help, we learned which flowers attracted the bugs we needed to keep pest populations in control. Habitats were created for birds and owls, and we brought cows, sheep and chickens to live on the property. Once the estate found its balance, the wines did too. As we tasted the wines grown from such a healthy and vibrant place, we realized that the distinctiveness and authenticity we were lacking before was right in the glass. Healing the land had led to an amazing new caliber of wines and we knew we had to begin applying the lessons learned on our estate to all the vineyards we worked with. Around 2001, Mark Burningham, VP of Winegrowing and the only non-Benziger Partner in our company, put together a sustainable farming program for all of our growers. Within it, he created protocols and metrics and guidelines that would help a farmer tailor a sustainality plan to his specific vineyard, one that would require him to make progress each year towards an ultimate goal of organic or Biodynamic certification. Since 2007, Stellar Certification Services has audited our program each and inspects all the vineyards that hold its certification. Today with over a dozen Benzigers active in our winery business, our family is committed to this philosophy now and for generations to come.

Watering Techniques:

Supplemental drip irrigation

Wineries You Sell To:

Title of Planted Area:

Obsidian Point, Cabernet Sauvignon, block #15a and #15b

Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon

Select

Block Acreage:

1.21

Block Clone:

Cabernet Sauvignon, CL 15

Block Elevation:

Block Name:

Obsidian Point, Cabernet Sauvignon, block #15a and #15b

Block Rootstock:

101-14

Block Slope %:

Block Soil Type:

Block Vineyard:

Benziger Family Winery

Block Yield:

Trellis Type:

VSP

Block Overview:

At Benziger, we’re about three things: family, great wine and healthy vineyards. For more than thirty years we’ve searched Sonoma County for the most distinctive and expressive vineyards. Once found, we tended these sites using certified Biodynamic, organic and sustainable farming methods. The result is a portfolio of authentic and memorable wines. In the mid-90's, Mike Benziger befriended a man named Alan York who was, and still is, one of the leading international experts on Biodynamic farming. In this ultra-organic approach, the vineyard is viewed holistically. Chemicals and artificial inputs are eliminated and natural balances are re-instated. With Alan's help, we learned which flowers attracted the bugs we needed to keep pest populations in control. Habitats were created for birds and owls, and we brought cows, sheep and chickens to live on the property. Once the estate found its balance, the wines did too. As we tasted the wines grown from such a healthy and vibrant place, we realized that the distinctiveness and authenticity we were lacking before was right in the glass. Healing the land had led to an amazing new caliber of wines and we knew we had to begin applying the lessons learned on our estate to all the vineyards we worked with. Around 2001, Mark Burningham, VP of Winegrowing and the only non-Benziger Partner in our company, put together a sustainable farming program for all of our growers. Within it, he created protocols and metrics and guidelines that would help a farmer tailor a sustainality plan to his specific vineyard, one that would require him to make progress each year towards an ultimate goal of organic or Biodynamic certification. Since 2007, Stellar Certification Services has audited our program each and inspects all the vineyards that hold its certification. Today with over a dozen Benzigers active in our winery business, our family is committed to this philosophy now and for generations to come.

Watering Techniques:

supplemental drip irrigation

Wineries You Sell To: