“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

TravelHaven Journal – California Wine Cruise 5


Benziger Family Winery

Sunday morning brought another beautiful day (we were so lucky with the weather — no rain and cool temperatures all four days). After breakfast, we split into two groups again and set out for the Benziger Family Winery in Glen Ellen. Another great experience!

From the bus, we boarded a tractor-pulled tram and were taken up into the vineyards, where our guide explained that the Benziger Family Winery is leading a new definition of wine quality through its Farming for Flavors™, organic and Biodynamic® winegrowing practices. Their 85-acre certified Biodynamic Sonoma Mountain estate has become a research and teaching center for the cultivation of grapes with more flavor, more intensity and site-specific vineyard character. Grapes for all Benziger wines now are grown by one of three farming methods: Farming for Flavors, organic or Biodynamic.

Oh and did I mention that their wines are really good? My group enjoyed their wine so much that we bought and shipped home two cases! My personal favorite was the Pinot Noir, but most people bought the Oonapais. Here’s what the Benziger website says about their Oonapais:

“Oonapais showcases the diverse and healthy environment in and around the Benziger Family Estate. In 2005 the blend is made up of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc. This wine is made with the most traditional hands-on methods. The grapes were hand sorted in the vineyard, fermented in small tanks and serviced by hand with love and care. Native yeast and malolactic bacteria were employed throughout. The wine was aged for 19 months in French oak – about 30% of the barrels were brand new – and bottled in July of 2007.”

We did a lot of shopping at Benziger too. One of their guides makes furniture and other items from wine barrels. Of course, being the wine lover that I am, I had to have a lazy Susan made from the top of a wine barrel — Cabernet Sauvignon, of course!