One of the key tenets of Benziger's "Farming for Flavors" is site-specific vine selection and management, which produces terroir-driven wines with the authentic aromas, flavors and character of each particular site.
About the Brand
from: Americashow map
- Benziger Family Winery is dedicated to crafting wines that reveal the true character of the vineyard, the grape variety and the vintage.
- All vineyards are farmed sustainably, organically or biodynamically, and Benziger has created programs to get partner growers certified in one of these practices.
- A pioneer of biodynamic wine, Benziger is one of very few Demeter-certified biodynamic producers in North America.
- Located in the Sonoma Mountain AVA, Benziger was founded in 1980 and remains one of few family-run wineries.
Benziger Family Winery is dedicated to crafting wines that reveal the true character of the vineyard, the grape variety and the vintage through certified sustainable, organic and Biodynamic® practices. “Farming for flavors” is Benziger's trademarked sustainability program, certified each year by an independent third party. Benziger’s wines include Sonoma varietal wines and blends.
A Family Effort
Mike Benziger founded the winery in 1980, when he purchased an 85-acre estate first established in the late 1800s on a slope of Sonoma Mountain above the tiny village of Glen Ellen. It was a bare-bones ranch that required considerable foresight—and hard work—to transform into a wine estate. It was not long before other members of the Benziger family arrived to help Mike build the winery and transform the property, and they then stayed on to build the brand. Bruno Benziger, Mike's father, would be instrumental in putting the enterprise on firm ground. The winery was completed in 1981, in time for the crush, and the first award-winning wines, a Sauvignon Blanc and a Chardonnay, were released in 1982.
Glen Ellen: A Means to an End
From the outset, Bruno Benziger recognized that investment in the winery property would require cash flow. The Glen Ellen brand was launched when Mike Benziger and his brothers, at their father’s urging, began buying high-quality local juice at good prices, bottling it and turning it around at a very fair market value. With a cork finish, attractive packaging and some sound marketing sense, the brand began 13 years of phenomenal growth. It also became an 18-hour-a-day job, generating sales of 3.8 million cases that diverted the family from their original focus on producing premium-quality wines from the estate and the surrounding appellations. In the fall of 1993, the Glen Ellen brand was sold to Heublein Corporation. With the financial freedom afforded them from the sale, the Benzigers turned all their efforts toward the Benziger Family Winery portfolio, the idea behind the dream that first brought Mike Benziger to Sonoma.
The Benziger estate vineyards were planted between 1981 and 1989. The estate lies in the tiny Sonoma Mountain appellation, its vineyards in a terraced volcanic bowl curving a full 360 degrees around the crater's midslope. The property is unusual for its diverse spectrum of soils, of which 21 distinct types have been identified and grouped into “flavor blocks.” Benziger is devoted to site-specific vine selection and management, which allows them to bring forth the very best flavors a particular site can offer. This philosophy is extended into winemaking through their process of separate lot management, maintained throughout the winemaking process. It requires more focused attention but preserves the purest expression of the vineyard, whether the wine is bottled separately as a vineyard designated wine or blended with wines from other vineyards.
A Commitment to Green Farming
A crucial part of farming sustainably is Benziger’s commitment to farming in a way that is good for the land and for the people who work it. Every one of Benziger’s vineyards is farmed sustainably, organically or biodynamically, and Benziger has created programs to put partner growers on track to become certified in one of these practices.