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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.
Director of Winemaking
Lisa Amaroli has been a vital part of the Benziger Winemaking team since 1999. She graduated from 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 styles for Benziger wines through collaborative tastings and initiates implementation in wine processing. Lisa currently is the Winemaker for our Sonoma County tier of wines.
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.”