Benziger Winery

Glen Ellen, California

Sheep Grazing in the Vineyards at Benziger Winery
Brandon Burke/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Benziger Winery has been among the top rated and most popular wineries in the Sonoma Valley for many years. 

After years of trying to fence nature out using traditional vineyard management practices, the Benzigers decided to adopt a more natural approach, transforming their property into a certified biodynamic, organic, sustainable farm. They believed that by allowing their land to come into a natural balance, their wines would become more distinctive. An equally important result is how beautiful and healthy the vineyards surrounding the winery look, and what a nice counterpoint the areas planted to attract beneficial insects give to the scene.

The Experience at Benziger

You can have several kinds of experiences at Benziger. You can take the tour - there's plenty to read about that below. You can just taste their wines in the tasting room. They have the typical winery gift shop to explore. They also have nice outdoor patio areas, where you can relax and have a picnic.

What’s Amazing at Benziger Winery

The real fun at Benziger is taking a tour. The vineyard tour in an open-sided tram pulled by a tractor is a hit with everyone, even the kids. You'll go up into the vineyards, see the property from a hillside vista point and learn why there's a flower garden where grapevines could be growing.

For a more in-depth experience, the Partners Tour takes you even more behind the scenes and includes a seated tasting - all for the price of a standard, stand-up tasting at some wineries in Napa Valley. These tours are limited to 10 people for a more personal experience.

Benziger Winery Will Be Great For You If:

Everyone seems to love the tour at Benziger and you will, too. It's the main reason I recommend it to others.

If you want to know more about how wine grapes are grown, you can learn about that on the tour. Or maybe you're curious about what biodynamic farming is. They'll explain all that to you, too. It's fun even if you just like tractors or enjoy a nice ride through gorgeous scenery on a sunny day. And don't be snooty like one online reviewer I read who thought they were too young and hip to enjoy the tour.

The Wines at Benziger

Benziger produces several varieties of red and white wines. 

In the interest of full disclosure of my personal opinions, the wines at Benziger are not to my taste - but I love their tour.

What Others Think About Benziger

Online reviewers mention the tour and the views more often than the wines, but most of them rate it as Excellent. On Yelp, it gets 4 stars out of 5, but that includes visitors who did not take the tour.

This popular tour gets a bit crowded during summer weekends, and you may enjoy it even more if you can manage to go on a weekday or off-season. Reservations aren't required, but getting them will ensure that you aren't disappointed or standing around waiting longer than you like. You can reserve online at their website.

The picnic area is open to anyone - but of course, it's only polite to buy a bottle of their wine if you use it. If you go on a weekend during busier times, they serve freshly-made pizzas on the patio, cooked in a wood-fired oven.

In 2015, the Benziger family sold their winery to The Wine Group, the world’s third-largest wine company that specializes in low-priced wines. I don't know how that will affect the visitor experience, but you may want to check out the latest reviews of Benziger on Yelp before you go.

The Basics

In case you're interested, Benziger is in the Sonoma Valley viticultural (wine-growing) area. 

Getting to Benziger Family Winery

1883 London Ranch Road
Glen Ellen, CA
Benziger Family Winery Website

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary tour for the purpose of reviewing Benziger Family Winery. While it has not influenced this review, believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.

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