YGOM Takes Sonoma and Napa (Day 2)

Hey wine friends! Hope you enjoyed the recap of my first day in wine country. Now, I’m on to day two, which was also very eventful. We spent the day in Glen Allen, which is located in the heart of Sonoma Valley. Read below where my wine adventure led to next.

Ty’s Takeaways…


Benziger Family Winery

  • Tasting Room Hours: Daily, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Wine Tastings: Five wines from Benziger’s Vintner’s Choice menu for $20; Additional speciality tastings, click here.
  • Winery Fun Fact: Benziger is completely ‘green’ when it comes to its winemaking process (read more below)
  • Winery Tours:Partners Vineyard Tour & Exclusive Wine TastingBiodynamic Vineyard Tram Tour
  • YGOM Favorite: 2015 Paradiso De Maria Sauvignon Blanc

Benziger Family Winery was another Instagram find. I’m so glad we got the chance to visit because this winery is simply breathtaking. I wish I’d taken more pictures along the driveway entry of the property. Definitely one of the more visually appealing wineries on my trip.

One of the cool things about Benziger is its biodynamic approach to grape growing. Instead of bagged fertilizer, weed killer and pesticides Benziger relies on composting, natural predator-prey relationships, cover crops, and the animals that live on its estate, to keep the vineyard healthy and balanced. Today, Benziger is one of a handful of certified biodynamic vineyards in the U.S. I was really impressed with Benziger’s sustainability practices. It made me wonder how many other wineries in the county were following this trend. #thethingsthatmakeyougohmmm

During our visit, we took part in the 90 minute Partners Vineyard Tour & Exclusive Wine Tasting. The Partners’ Tour is one of two tours offered at the winery. On this tour, you get to take an electric tram on a behind-the-scenes look of the biodynamic vineyards. Greg, our tour guide, was great! He was fun and very knowledgeable. I like that the Partners’ Tour is very intimate. It’s limited to eight people, which was perfect for me. I loved that the tour was interactive. There were stops along the tour that allowed us to get off the tram and walk around. Again, the views across the vineyard were gorgeous! We even got to walk into a wine cave and taste Cabernet Sauvignon that was still in the barrel! Then the tour ended with a seated exclusive wine tasting of five estate red wines. All the wines were so good. We were completely blown away by our Benziger experience.

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 Time flew by so fast that we had to rush off to our next tasting at Imagery Estate Winery!


Imagery Estate Winery

  • Tasting Room Hours: Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Saturday – Sunday, 10 am – 5:30 p.m.
  • Wine Tastings: Five wines for $15, Seated estate tasting (five wines) for $25
  • Winery Fun Fact: Imagery is the (hipper) sister winery of Benziger’s. So, if you visit one, you should stop by the other. They’re less than 10 minutes away from each other.
  • Things to Do: Bring snacks and rent a picnic table ($50 for two hours — that’s a pretty good deal!)
  • YGOM Favorites: Sooo many!! 2014 White Burgundy; 2015 Viognier (bought a bottle), 2015 Viognier; 2013 Cinsault, 2011 Creation (blend of Teroldego, Largrein, Sangiovese, and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes)

So, I’m not going to beat around the bush with this one. Imagery Estate Winery was my favorite stop on my whole trip. Hands down, they had the most diverse wine portfolio. (Gasp! Did I just say that?) I’ll back this claim up in a minute.

At Imagery we were treated to a private seated tasting on the front patio. Our host Zazi was excellent and again super knowledgeable, which is very important to me when serving wines. We started with a Riesling and then tasted our way through four reds. Here’s where Imagery gets bonus points.

Up until now, we were tasting the same wines over and over again. (Sauv Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabs, and Zinfandel no my!) I get this is what California wine country is known for, but I was all Zinfandel-ed out at this point! It was soooo refreshing to see wines made from new varietals, such as the 2013 Cinsault (Dragonsleaf Vineyard) and the 2012 Tannat (Upper Ridge Vineyard). I’d heard of Cinsault before, but not the Tannat grape and was excited to try them both. Zazi even let us try some of their whites — Viognier (perfection), Albariño (so good!), and my new favorite White Burgundy! I can’t tell you how happy this made me! *insert happy* Finally, I had made it to the white wine promised land! I appreciate and was quite impressed with Imagery’s out-of-the-box selection of wines. Thank you, Imagery…you are the real wine MVP!

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Stay tuned! Later this week, I conclude my wine trip with a recap of our day in the Napa area.


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