Bonterra Vineyards

Owner(s) Concho y Toro
Web site
Link to this site

Bonterra emphasizes a holistic approach to organic and biodynamic winegrowing, dating to 1987. All wine has been produced from 100% organically-grown grapes since 1991. The winery farms the 378-acre McNab Ranch in Mendocino County, California Emphasis has been on Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel, but Pinot Noir from Anderson Valley and Mendocino County appellations was launched with the 2009 vintage.

Winemaker Robert Blue has been making the wines since the beginning, hired by the Fetzer family in 1988, about the time they were planting their organic gardens just outside the town of Hopland in Mendocino County. When he started, Bonterra did the first cover crop trials working with UC Berkeley and UC Davis. Now cover crops are normal throughout the world.

The first wines under the Fetzer Bonterra name came out in 1991 and 1992, and Bonterra Vineyards was officially launched in 1993 with two wines, a Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Fetzer family sold the winery to Brown-Forman, who sold it to the Chilean company Concho y Toro in 2011, which itself has 2,500 acre of organic and biodynamic wine grapes in Chile. Through it all, winemaker Blue and vineyard director David Koball have worked with growers throughout Mendocino County who they were assisting to start converting to organic farming practices. 25 to 30 percent of vineyards devoted to growing wine grapes in Mendocino are certified organic, compared to 3 percent statewide. Bonterra continues to work with about 25 growers, all organic, and most of them in Mendocino County, with a few in Lake County and Amador County. Organic Pinot Noir comes from Anderson Valley.

Wines are available online through the website and via retail distribution. Sign up for the Wine Club and newsletter through the website.

Reviewed Wines

2007 Bonterra Vineyards Mendocino County Chardonnay

13.0% alc., pH 3.27, $12, screw cap. 96% Chardonnay, 3% Muscat, 0.5% Rousanne, 0.5% Viognier. Made from organic grapes and aged in primarily neutral French and American oak. The winemaker is Robert Blue. · Very pale yellow-green in the glass. Appealing aromas of lemon curd, banana, vanilla and oak toast. Discreetly rich and soft in the mouth with flavors of citrus fruits, creme brulee and vanilla wafers. A bit hollow in the mid-palate and becomes less interesting in the glass over time, but a value-priced play that will work well when mildly chilled at the dinner table. Good. Reviewed May 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

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