Benziger Family Winery
Benziger Family Winery is much more than a passionate family of Sonoma Mountain winegrowers, but a family devoted to biodynamic practices — the highest form of certified organic, sustainable grape growing and winemaking. They offer unique, handcrafted wines that preserve the biodiversity and integrity of the land, while offering their growers’ educational farming programs such as ‘Farming For Flavors’, a program that promotes sustainable agricultural practices.
Benziger Family Winery has chosen to produce biodynamic wines with a specific goal in mind: “To craft wines that authentically express the individual vineyards from which they are made, with integrity and an enduring respect for the land.” This passion for winemaking, paired with a passion for the planet, sets this 85-acre Sonoma Mountain estate apart from other traditional wineries.
Mike and Mary Benziger started the winery from an overgrown ranch in Sonoma County over two decades ago. Benziger Family Winery produced their first wines in 1981, and by 1987 they were already implementing Integrated Pest Management (IPM), an ecologically and economically sound way to control pests through providing homes for certain plants and wildlife that naturally aid in pest control. It was one of their first large steps toward sustainability.
Benziger became the first Demeter-certified Biodynamic vineyard in Sonoma County in 2000. Since then, they have been dedicated to moving along the path toward certified organic and biodynamic wines that are grown, harvested, and crafted with as much authenticity as possible. Today there are more than two-dozen members of the Benziger family living on around the winery.
Certified Organic Wines & the Certified-Sustainable Program
Certified organic wine farming encompasses more than forgoing pesticides and synthetic chemicals on the plants; it also includes natural composting, natural tillage and rotation to maintain soil health, and involves natural control of pests, insects and weeds. The Benziger Family Winery not only adheres to these strict principles to create their high quality organic wines, but expects the same from their growers.
The Benzigers have created the most comprehensive certified-sustainable farming program known to any California winery, with the help of Stellar Certification Services and other environmental experts. The program is called ‘Farming For Flavors’ and is used by all of Benziger’s growers. ‘Farming For Flavors’ measures standards by soil fertility, canopy management, natural resource management, employees, irrigation management, continuing education, disease and pest management, and of course, wine quality. Benziger is a leader in natural winegrowing and is dedicated to sharing their wealth of information with others.
‘Farming For Flavors’ not only produces a sustainably healthy wine, but also yields an aromatic wine that is bursting with character and distinctive flavors. Growers that are protecting native yeasts and revitalizing their soils are also capturing the vintage, varietal and individuality of the vineyard. This devotion to high-quality, sustainable farming practices produces rich, delicious, flavorful wines that stand head and shoulders above the rest. All of Benziger Family Winery wines are grown by either certified organic standards, biodynamic standards, or certified-sustainable standards.
Healing the Land to Create Biodynamic Wines
Producing biodynamic wines is no small task. While it’s more ‘natural’, it actually takes a lot more work than one would think. There are strict guidelines for the Benzigers to follow. Biodynamic wines require the highest standard of organic certification and take not only the vine and soil into consideration, but also the surrounding environment and outside influences. To help them achieve a biodynamic, sound environment, their 85-acre estate includes 42 acres of vineyards, and 30 acres of wildlife sanctuaries, gardens, wetlands, riparian areas, and woodlands that help self-regulate through predator and prey relationships that naturally occur.
The Benziger Family Winery focuses on healing the land through a variety of ways: feeding the soil, Biodynamic teas and sprays, recycling their organic waste back into the land through composting, and devoting their land to biodiversity. They also do their planting and pruning with the earth’s natural lunar and seasonal cycles. All of the Benziger biodynamic wines are created with native yeast fermentation, with the goal of enhancing and energizing the environment to produce wines with original character. Benziger makes more than 10 biodynamic wines in their four estates.
Conscious Business Practices
If possible, just about everything the Benziger Family Winery does is conscious and sustainable. Not only are they passionate about certified organic, certified-sustainable and biodynamic wines, the Benziger Family Winery also holds ongoing seminars for their growers, implements a progressive office recycling program, uses solar powered lights and irrigation, and runs their farm equipment on biodiesel. In addition, they are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and use water conservation techniques that reclaim more than a million gallons of wastewater a year. The entire business is set up to be sustainable and full of integrity.
Winemaking as Family Artistry
To Benziger Family Winery winemaking is an art; a passionate commitment that requires an entire family of artists that work cooperatively to create an outstanding finished product. They nurture the land, create wines with personality, and help educate others. Over the years, they have been recognized by numerous awards, from the Bay Area Green Business Award and the Sonoma County Green Business Award for Environmental Leadership, to the California Environmental Protection Agency’s esteemed Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Innovator Award.
Visit the Benziger Family Winery online at:
http://www.benziger.com To learn more about Biodynamics and the certification process, visit:
To learn more about Biodynamics and Tribute wines:
Visit the Benziger sister winery at Imagery Estates: