Benovia, from the Russian River Valley, are a dedicated, hard-working and generous winery where community and heart are two abiding principles. Owned by Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane, their secret weapon is winemaker and co-owner Mike Sullivan, formerly of Hartford Family Wines and the 2002 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate Winemaker of the Year. He also has many other accolades to his name and is a real winemaking icon within Sonoma.
Benovia was founded in 2005. Joe & Mary purchased their first estate in 2003, but it took a couple of years to turn the old vine Pinot and Zinfandel vineyards to their exacting specifications. After they hired Mike, it wasn’t long before they started releasing wines, and then their reputation began to skyrocket.
Their initial estate was just west of Healdsburg, in the heart of Sonoma, but since then they’ve expanded their estate and now hold 71 acres of vineyards across The Russian River and Sonoma Coast AVA’s.
Their work in the community is the stuff of legend. They’ve raised millions of dollars for both local and national initiatives, and they fully immerse themselves in their local circle. Their philosophy is summed up as follows…
“Hard work brings its own rewards, they would say. Be the best at what you do. Surround yourself with good people, and let them get to work. And never, ever produce anything that wouldn’t make you proud. Here in the Russian River Valley, we are all part of a close-knit community that finds joy in purpose. We’re at our happiest during harvest, when friends join us on the sorting line and the winery and vineyards are buzzing with activity and camaraderie. After years of humble, hard work, we believe that we are creating something truly beautiful that draws people together.”
From a winemaking perspective, no stone is left unturned. From vigorous hand-sorting, both in the vineyard and again at the winery, to the sustainable high-density planting in the vineyards, Benovia are all about making the very best expression of their vineyards that they possibly can.
There is little doubt that Joe, Mary & winemaker Mike are extremely humble and down to earth. They don’t shout about their wines. Luckily, others do lots of shouting for them, and this is a property making highly sophisticated and refined Chardonnay and Pinot - genuinely cool climate wines which are super stylish and classical.