Winemaker Dinner Series
December 13th - Dogwood Estate, Willow Creek
Dogwood Estate is a favorite at The Benbow Historic Inn. This small winery located in the Willow Creek AVA in Trinity County produces estate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Gary Barker, winemaker and owner, also produces a range of still and dessert wines from the Chiles Valley AVA in Napa County.
January 10th - Schug Carneros Estate Winery
Schug Carneros Estate Winery is a family operation with a long winemaking history. Both Walter and Gertrud Schug’s respective fathers managed wine estates in Germany. Walter first met Gertrud, his then wife-to-be, while working as administrative assistant near her father’s estate, the Weingut Annaberg.
Their strong love for each other survived the six years that Walter spent training at various wineries in Germany, England and California- even while he completed his diploma in Viticulture & Enology at Geisenheim, Germany. In 1960, after a year apart, Walter crossed the Atlantic, went straight to Gertrud and asked her to marry him. Their wedding took place in March 1961; less than a month later they packed their bags and took a boat to New York. The newlyweds crossed America in their Volkswagen Beetle complete with skis on the back and custom-made luggage to fit every corner of the car. Finally, they reached California and thus began many years of dedicated work in the very young California wine industry.
February 7th - Mc Fadden Vineyard, Potter Valley
In Northern California, Potter Valley lies on the edge of the Mendocino National Forest and by the headwaters of the Russian River. A wide range of native and cultivated plants thrive in its rich, deep soils.
Born and raised in New York City, Guinness McFadden came to this peaceful place in 1970. After Notre Dame, ten years as a Naval officer, and a stint at Stanford Business School, he decided against a future in pin-striped suits and city offices to seek out a new living in the country. He found that and more. The McFadden family settled in to a life of hard work and enviable happiness on this special piece of ground.
In addition to great wines, McFadden Farm grows and sells a wide variety of specialty foods: garlic woven into handsome braids, bay leaves gathered into beautiful wreaths, rare wild rice, fragrant organic culinary herbs and herb blends. A feast for the senses and the soul.
March 14th - Heitz Wine Cellars, Napa Valley
The Heitz family's vision of winemaking spans three generations of dedication to excellence. They believe that true artistry sometimes requires restraint. The Heitz Family strives for the delicate balance between science and nature's bounty that allows their wines to express the genuine character of the varietal and to reflect their vineyard's unique geography within the Napa Valley.
When people choose Heitz Cellars, they envision a classic wine and pure elegance that they can count on year after year. That is the heart and soul of the Heitz heritage. Their practices and methods have evolved over the years, but the quality of their wines and the integrity of their approach to the business is going to stay the same.
April 11th - Briceland Winery, Humboldt County
Briceland Vineyards winery was founded in 1985 in the tiny hamlet of Briceland in Southern Humboldt County - about a 15-minute drive from the Inn. The winery is currently operated by second-generation winemaker, Andrew Morris, along with his wife Rosie. The founding partners, winemaker emeritus, Joe Collins and his lifelong partner, Maggie Carey, still contribute actively to the operation of the small, 1500 case per year winery.
The idea behind Briceland Vineyards was to produce wine from locally grown grapes from the cool coastal areas of Humboldt County and the North Coast. Andrew Morris has had the unique opportunity to apprentice with his stepfather, Joe Collins, over 5 harvests. Family winery transitions of this kind are are commonplace in Europe but quite rare in the US, where winemaking traditions are still young. Andrew brings a wide range of experience to the winery, including a strong science background from his studies at UC Davis.