When you live and work in wine country it can be difficult to get excited to visit other wineries on your days off. Yes, yes, poor us we live in beautiful wine country and can’t seem to drag ourselves to yet another winery. We can feel your pity through the internet. When we first moved to wine country we had this brilliant idea that we would visit all 400+ Sonoma County wineries…while that would be an amazing accomplishment we soon realized how expensive some can be just to visit and how it isn’t all that much fun to just taste wine and not see the vineyards. Benziger Family Winery is an ‘experience’. You can spend most of your day there and never want to leave!
Benziger Winery Garden
Did you arrive too early for your Biodynamic Vineyard Tram Tour? Not to worry! There’s a great interpretive garden you can explore on your own. When you arrive at Benziger there’s a lovely little garden with a fountain and images posted of the winery right in the parking lot!
If you are lucky enough to visit on a slow day, or your timing is just right, you can have this little slice of beauty all to yourself. You are greeted by photos of the woolly weeders and as you walk around you get to learn more about biodynamic farming. Benziger is one of the few wineries in Sonoma County that are currently certified biodynamic. We highly recommend taking the tram tour to learn more about this practice! It’s good for the environment, the animals, the wine, and even you! It’s a step above just being organic. Hint, the moon, and cow horns are involved.
Biodynamic Vineyard Tram Tour
After checking in for your tour, hop on the tram and be ready to see one of the most beautiful wineries we have been to in Sonoma and get your taste buds ready to enjoy some of their amazing wines along the tour! A tractor pulls the tram along the gardens and up the hill to some amazing views of the property! So many native plants and vineyards line the small path as the guide talks about what you are viewing. The first stop is at the top where you learn about the different micro-climates and various varietals that are grown on the property and why they are in specific parts of the property. This is the best view of the entire property. Just below is the insectary where beautiful plants that attract just the right insects are flourishing.
While Benziger has some delicious wine, it is hard to concentrate on the tasting with the amount of beauty that surrounds you! Hop back on the tram and enjoy the leisurely ride as you pass by the insectary and more vineyards. Try guessing which varietal of grapes you are passing!
The next stop is the crush pad. Benziger has state of the art equipment. The sorter has an electronic eye that can remove grapes that don’t meet their standards! This is crazy good technology. As someone who works in the wine industry, we are used to being around the ginormous tanks and the sweet smells of fermentation. We remember how incredibly small we felt the first time we visited a winery with so many tanks! After learning about the sorting process and the beginning stages of fermentation, the tour group walked around the corner and into the cave that was drilled into the side of Sonoma Mountain.
It is hard to understand how a machine can bore a tunnel through a mountain but it can! We walked in a way and saw hundreds of barrels full of wine aging and just waiting to come out tasting amazing in a couple of years! The temperature is perfect in the caves. Just cool enough to keep the barrels at optimal temperature and relief on a hot day. We sort of want to live in a cave so the temperature stays cool for us in the summers!
The entire tour group was taking photos of the barrels in the cave. It wasn’t claustrophobic at all which was great for the bosslady! After leaving the cave we hopped back on the tractor-led tram one last time where it dropped us at the tasting room. Check out the video link at the end of the post to see our full tour!
The Biodynamic Vineyard Tram Tour has its own little tasting area which is perfect. We all had time to get to know each other so it was great to end the tour in our own private little area. Most people purchased some of the wines we tasted along the tour, many purchased items from Benziger’s lovely gift shop! We had been here a couple of times so we tipped the staff and went on our way. This is one of the few wineries we will take people visiting from out-of-town. It’s seriously such a great experience here in wine country and we feel it embodies the romantic side of winemaking.
Benziger Winery Picnic
Since we had been here before we knew to bring a picnic and fully enjoy the property! There are several little spots to sit on a bench or at a table and enjoy a bottle of wine, cheese, and bread. We had stopped at the Glen Ellen Village Market before heading up the hill to Benziger Winery and picked up some yummy eats to go with our wine. Sitting in the shade at the tables across from the tram tour check-in was perfect. Many people were enjoying themselves here which made it easy for us to sit back relax and people watch!
After our picnic, we walked up to the insectary toward the top end of the parking lot to wander through the garden. If you have someone who loves to explore a place AND loves wine, we suggest going to Benziger Family Winery!
Benziger Family Winery is located in Glen Ellen, CA in Sonoma Valley. The Biodynamic Vineyard Tram Tour is $30 (we recommend reservations since it is so popular). The town of Glen Ellen has some amazing restaurants and of course the Glen Ellen Village Market to pick up picnic items. Jack London State Historic Park is just up the road from Benziger Winery. We have done the true “Hike Then Wine” and did a short hike to the historic Wolf House at Jack London SHP then toured Benziger after. This is HIGHLY recommended!
Things We Love:
Wine. We love wine! Ok, we love lots of things that go along with wine also. Like cheese! We love cheese! But seriously, if you are going to do a picnic having the Hydro Flask Wine Tumblers are the way to go! We take our wine tumblers on all picnics and camping trips. Not only are they adorable but they keep your wine chilled on a hot day. Super important! No one wants to drink hot wine…okay maybe mulled wine if you are into that but hot wine on a hot day doesn’t work for us. Trust us! Head on over to Amazon by clicking on the image below and treat yourself to something that is completely necessary while out wine tasting!
Where Else Can You Find Us?
Don’t forget to check out the video of the hike on our Hike Then Wine YouTube channel!