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Vice President of Trade Relations
Still in high school when the Benziger family moved from White Plains, Chris finished his senior year in wine country. He went on to earn a degree in marketing from the University of San Francisco while spending summers, weekends and every spare moment working at the winery. He officially joined the Benziger Family Winery in 1993 as a Brand Manager. In addition to sales responsibilities, Chris also oversees the home ranch and its many farm related duties, i.e. shepherding the Benziger flock of sheep and cows, tending to the estate vegetable and fruit trees, and producing the Biodynamic preparations for all our vineyards. Chris feels that the only way to communicate the quality of the wines he promotes is by having the soil from the vineyard in which he’s endorsing under his nails. The best impression a winemaker can leave on his wines are his footprints in the vineyards.
Winemaker, Imagery Estate Winery
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.
Imagery evolved under Joe’s direction and the emphasis shifted to lesser-known varietals. As he discovered rare wines, Joe became passionate about unusual grapes and the Barbera within was unleashed.
General Manager of North Coast Operations
Mark Burningham received a bachelor's degree from San Diego State University in Business Management with an emphasis in marketing, and took various viticulture classes at UC Davis. Mark came to know Benziger Family wines while handling them for his wine distributing business in Santa Rosa. When he joined the winery in 1987, he threw himself into the development of the business with such Benziger-like zeal that he eventually became an unofficial member of the family. Today, Mark works closely with Benziger's growers and is dedicated to farming for quality and flavor. Mark manages the grape supply for Benziger Family Winery's contracted vineyards, and the Farming for Flavors Certified Sustainable Grape Growing Program.