I have been an apprentice winemaker for many years, learning from the master, Mr. Bill, who has been making premium California zinfandel since 1974. I hope to continue making wine in his legacy (and that of his friend and mentor, Dave Bennion).

A few stories about Bill:

Related stories about those related to our "family tree" of winemaking:

"The rise and fall and rise of zinfandel is inextricably bound up with the story of Ridge Vineyards, a smallish winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Francisco that specializes in the wine, and with the two men who have guided Ridge since its beginning in 1959. Burly, laid-back David Bennion, a Stanford University engineer, was a Ridge founder and its first winemaker; Paul Draper, at one time affiliated with the Central Intelligence Agency, an intellectual enamored of Jungian psychology and a perfectionist in the cellar, joined Ridge in 1969. He replaced Bennion as winemaker in the 1970's and as president of Ridge in the 1980's. Bennion later died in an automobile accident on the Golden Gate Bridge."

  • Eric Baugher, head winemaker at Merus (formerly at Ridge, where he made wine in the Dave Bennion style and gave me lots of good advice on everything from barrels to submerged-cap fermentation, as well as many yummy tastings):

And stories about our friend and long-time source for the grapes, Beni Dusi, and other worthy growers we work with

"1967 - David Bennion, winemaker at Ridge Vineyards, drives all through California looking for old Zinfandel vines to source grapes. He drives by the vineyards of Benito Dusi, drives onto the property and knocks on the front door of their home. Dave is invited to share a dinner of polenta and stew with Benito and Caterina Dusi. Dave Bennion bought five tons of Zinfandel grapes from Benito on a handshake. The following year, Ridge Vineyards produces a successful Zinfandel wine and makes a deal with Benito Dusi to buy 97% of his harvest. This agreement is still in effect in 2019; it is the longest running contract is San Luis Obispo County."