Estate Spotlight Series, Part One: Sonoma Mountain

Sonoma Mountain: An Estate of Enlightenment

“Every block is as enchanted as the next…” –Lisa Amaroli, Director of Winemaking at Benziger Family Winery Our Sonoma Mountain Estate is a majestic site where some of our most sought-after biodynamic wines come to fruition. An amphitheater of biodiversity, this 85-acre certified biodynamic farm contains vineyards, gardens, ponds, and multitudes of wildlife. It is a self-sustaining ecosystem, as well as an endless source of inspiration. “This estate has the most unique microclimate and soil,” says Benziger veteran Mark Burningham (EVP, Operations), “it’s a 360 degree bowl hanging off the side of Sonoma Mountain, an ancient volcano.” The vineyard’s shape, soil composition and relationship to light is what sets it apart from most other vineyards in the area. “The minerals in the soil kind of ping-pong the light rays around the bowl,” adds Jeffery Landolt (Director of Vineyards and Estate Properties), “the intensity of the light is the most important factor… in a really good year the sunlight is more intense than any other estate ranch.” This helps give Sonoma Mountain wines their marked acidity, or what Lisa Amaroli (Director of Winemaking) often refers to as their signature “Benziger lift.” “The way the light reflects on this property is magical,” Amaroli notes, “almost as if radiating from the land in addition to the sky,” notes winemaker Amaroli. Yet for all its natural beauty, Sonoma Mountain is a challenging ranch to farm, and the quality of the wine depends tremendously on the team that tends not just the vines, but the entire self-sustaining system of plants and animals, 365 days a year. “The 30 years of experience the vineyard crew has in biodynamic farming this property guarantees us outstanding quality every year,” Burningham asserts, and with that experience comes a connection to the land that is as inspiring as it is profound. "Every block is as enchanted as the next," adds Amaroli, "seeing our dedicated, expert vineyard crew move from block to block as we get close to harvest is so natural and integrated, as it is in the cellar as well - they are not only caretakers, they are part of the nature here... as if our presence is part of the ecosystem." This results in authentic, vineyard-driven, site-specific wines. As Amaroli sums up succinctly, “We are very lucky to be able to make wine here.  Biodynamic farming and expert cellar practices bring us an authentic product that is true to this site.” We invite you to be a part of our Sonoma Mountain Estate by enrolling in our Partners Club today! Be the first to receive our acclaimed, estate-grown biodynamic wines. What is Biodynamics? Often described as the highest form of organic agriculture, learn more about our environmentally pro-active farming practices here. Next month we will journey West to discover the distinguishing characteristics of our de Coelo Vineyard on the Sonoma Coast.