Family wineries in California

The Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers hosted a seminar and tasting yesterday to showcase the passing of the torch in California’s winegrowing families.

Featured speakers included Warren Bogle, whose family has been farming in Clarksburg for 6 generations. I’ve often featured their great value wines on this blog and in my classes. Bogle reviews

Sarah Cahn-Bennett was on hand to talk about her family’s wines at Navarro Vineyards in the Anderson Valley. We’ve been enjoying the 2008 Gewurztraminer Grape Juice since March and now have the opportunity to taste the wine created from the same vintage.

The family of NavarroNavarro, Anderson Valley, Estate Bottled, Dry, Gewurztraminer 2008 This Gewurz features more than just the floral notes of roses but brings us full-on stone fruit – quite vibrant and delicious. Sarah attributes the vibrant fruit character to both the vineyard practices and the winemaking. She says that the winery has recently moved away from vertical shoot positioning to lessen the amount of sunlight reaching the bunches. In the winery the juice is fermented cold in Navarro’s wood ovals and aged on the lees for 5 months. RS of .2%. P&B in Philo 13.5%, just released, $19 at the winery. Navarro

Kathy Benziger shared with us her experience as the youngest of the 7 kids behind the Benziger Family Winery. Besides their estate near Jack London State Historic Park, they have long relationships with other growers in the North Coast. She poured an awesome Chardonnay from fruit grown by the Sangiacomo family.

The Benziger familyBenziger Family Winery, Carneros, Sangiacomo Vineyard, Chardonnay 2007 This Chardonnay features bright tropical fruit with complementary richness in the background, a subtle, sweet oaky character that enhances the fruit. The Benzigers have been buying fruit from the Sangiacomos for 27 years. The grapes from 2007 were whole-cluster pressed and the wine was fermented cold in Hungarian oak barrels. Following ferment, the wine aged in those barrels for 11 months and 20% of the barrels were new. 14.1% $20 at the winery Benziger

About RJ

Ray Johnson is the Executive Director of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University. He writes about food and wine, his travels and the business of wine. He makes his home in Sonoma County, California.
This entry was posted in Anderson Valley, California, Carneros, Chardonnay, Clarksburg, Gewurztraminer, Mendocino County and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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