Click on the photos to learn more about the winemaking team.
Lisa Amaroli has been a vital part of the Benziger Winemaking team since 1999. She graduated from the Sonoma State University and holds a bachelor's degree in both biology and chemistry. Previously, she worked at Martini and Prati Winery as a Production Manager. Lisa is responsible for determining wine styles for the Benziger wines through collaborative tastings and initiates implementation in wine processing. Lisa currently is the Winemaker for our Sonoma County tier of wines.
Andrea Card began working in the Benziger lab in 2001 as the Harvest Lab Technician. Because of her outstanding work, she climbed the ladder to permanent Lab Technician, then Enologist, Harvest Lab Manager and Enologist, and Lab Manager. Now, as the Production/Lab Manager, she heads the barrel cellar, bottling schedule and fermentation sampling. Andrea is the packaging purchaser for all bottling supplies, and is responsible for the Organic and Biodynamic© certification for growing and processing. Andrea graduated from Cal Poly SLO in 2001 with a degree in agriculture business and an emphasis in farm and ranch management. To further her education, Andrea has taken classes at SRJC in winetasting, and classes at UC Davis in wine laboratories.
Jose Ortiz has seen a lot of changes since he first came to work for the Benziger Family Winery in 1983. Asked how he views the evolution, Jose comments, “We always had great people, now the environment reflects that.” In his first year, Jose worked in the vineyard. Soon after, he transitioned to work inside the winery and now supervises all cellar work. Jose has taken the companies conservation goals to heart. Even in the cellar, he advises, “We have to be very careful to use only the water that we need. And electricity, too.”
"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."
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.