What you should know about Bonterra Wines

Bonterra lineup of wines

Bonterra lineup of wines

Bonterra wines made from organic and Biodynamic grapes

If you are a devotee of this blog, you have read my reviews of Bonterra wines over the years, including these two recent articles: Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. We like Bonterra wines because they are excellent-tasting wines at very affordable prices and are in many stores. Behind the scenes at Bonterra Organic Vineyards, there is much to know about their farming and wine production.  At the recent Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Rosa, we signed up for a pre-conference session at the Fetzer and Bonterra wineries located in Hopland, Ca. What a treat! The two-day trip included a blending contest and a tasting of Fetzer wines, dinner at Campovida winery, and at Bonterra’s McNab Ranch a vineyard tour, tasting and luncheon. We also had a chance to taste boutique wines from small producers in the Hopland area. Both Fetzer and Bonterra are part of the Chilean winery, Concha y Toro. Concha y Toro purchased Fetzer and Bonterra in 2011, and since then Bonterra has been on the rise with consumer-friendly wines.

Bonterra Vineyards

Bonterra is one of the leading wineries in organics and Biodynamics. A vineyard tour by vineyard manager Joseph Brinkley gave us a description of the farming at Bonterra. Brinkley is a passionate farmer, dedicated to the principles of organics and sustainable agriculture. Bonterra has been farming organically for 30 years, and the last twenty years has been practicing Biodynamics. With organic and Biodynamic farming comes sustainability. Sustainability means not just benefiting the planet but also the staff and the local community. Many scoff at the principles of Biodynamics, calling it voodoo and saying it does not produce better-tasting wines. It is not the intent of Biodynamics to make better wines; it is that no harm comes to the environment. In 2016 the Wine Enthusiast awarded Bonterra as its American Winery of the Year because of its commitment to organic farming and it’s quality of affordable wines.

Bonterra vineyards at McNabb Ranch

Bonterra vineyards at McNabb Ranch – Nearly 1000 acres of organic vineyards

Head winemaker at Bonterra Jeff Cichocki

Head winemaker at Bonterra, Jeff Cichocki

Then there are the winemaking skills of lead winemaker Jeff Cichocki and assistant winemaker Sebastian Donoso. Jeff has had winemaking experience at wineries in Napa and Sonoma, and made the switch to Bonterra as head winemaker in 2007. Both winemakers led us through a tasting of the Bonterra wines explaining the production process for each wine. The wine business of Bonterra depends on their big-production wines shown in the photo above. They are available in all 50 states. These Bonterra wines are well-made and have received excellent point ratings from wine critics.

In contrast, and made in minimal amounts, are three single-vineyard wines. The Butler, a red Rhone-style wine, the McNab Ranch, a Bordeaux-style red, and the Roost Chardonnay. These three are exquisite, high-quality wines and sold only from the Bonterra online wine shop.

Where to find Bonterra wines near you

The big production of the Bonterra wines we see in our local stores, Costco, Trader Joe’s, Safeway, Total Wines and others. It is impressive how good these wines taste at such reasonable prices. Currently, at my local Safeway, I found these three Bonterra wines on the shelf at these six-pack sale prices: Bonterra Chardonnay $8.99, Bonterra Sauvignon Blanc $8.99, and Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon $10.79. My Trader Joes’s carries the Bonterra Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for $9.99. The Cabernet is $11.99 at Trader Joe’s.  At Cost Plus World Market, sale price of the 2015 Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon is $8.99. What better values can you find in California wine?

Bonterra at Trader Joe's

Bonterra at Trader Joe’s

Presently the Bonterra winery does not have a tasting room in the Hopland area. The Bonterra team is working on the idea of opening a tasting room in Hopland, and that would be a nice addition to the Hopland Wine Trail.

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