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  • Theresa Downs

Benovia Winery - Love Their Exceptional Chardonnay Wine And Wonderful Winery

This is part of an on-going series featuring Chardonnay wineries.

What’s Their Story:

The whole idea of the winery came about in 2003 when Joe Anderson and his wife, Mary Dewane, bought a 55-acre ranch west of Healdsburg. Benovia, the name, is an amalgamation of the owners’ father’s names, Ben and Novian. The duo wanted to pay homage to their fathers’ mantra of hard work, striving for perfection, and pride in their efforts. Their winemaking team was complete with the addition of Michael Sullivan of the Hartford Family Winery fame as winemaker and manager of the vineyard development.

Why The Winery Made The Grade: Chardonnay

Benovia Winery is a real jewel. It is one of the few wineries, if the only one, that has a name for their acolytes, Benovians. And after sampling their wine and hospitality, we can certainly understand the impulse. We were amazed that we hadn’t visited the winery before; the wines were spectacular. Benovia Winery’s wines consistently earn high ratings, ranking 90’s+ from Wine Spectator for good reason.

Okay, I’ll digress a bit here. Northern California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir-producing wineries love to toss the expression “Burgundian-style” around when referring to their wines. Since Burgundy, France, is and was the birthplace of Chardonnay, it’s understandable why most wineries would strive to draw a parallel between their wines and those of Burgundy. But, and here’s a big but, Northern California makes what is considered “New World” wines, which feature riper, more fruit-centric wines as opposed to Burgundy, which are “Old World” wines. “Old World” wines are less fruit-forward and have more mineral/earth notes and flavors. Unfortunately, “New World” deemed wines get a bad rap because a wine with discernable fruit on the palate is judged somewhat less sophisticated. As I’ve mentioned before, Chardonnay is a big tent with many different style options. Some people love big, oaky Chardonnay wines, while others swoon over Chardonnay’s with limestone and chalk flavor notes.

Benovia Winery Chardonnay wines straddle the line between big oaky and mineral/earth flavors. You will taste the citrus and stone fruit (peaches) in their wines, but they feature fewer oak notes typical of some California Chardonnays. Overall, we found their wines delightful.


The winery’s tasting salon is housed in an old American farmhouse updated with modern, elegant touches. It features a magnificent fireplace perfect for cozying up to on cold winter days. The large outside patio is adorned with comfortable seating that overlooks picturesque vineyards. The winery is tempting in both cold and warm weather.

Image Benovia Winery via Wine By Appointment LLC

Which Winery Visitor Type Would Love It:

This winery has something to offer all types of wine drinkers;

Icon for wine drinker type - Authenticity Seekers

Authenticity Seekers:

This winery offers a knowledgeable, gracious staff that should appeal to this group of wine enthusiasts.

Icon for wine drinker type - Luxury Seekers

Luxury Seeker:

While the winery may be a little too unpretentious for this group, the lovely grounds, engaging staff, and wine should disarm any wanting more “lux” surroundings.

Icon for wine drinker type - Oenophiles


The caliber of the wine should appease and please all in this group.

Icon for wine drinker type - Casual Wine Drinkers

Casual Wine Drinkers:

Casual Wine Drinkers will enjoy all aspects of this winery.


Address: 3353 Hartman Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

Phone: (707) 921-1040

Hours: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM Monday-Sunday

Tours/Tastings Offered: Benovia Winery offers several different tasting options (even an Engagement Proposal Package). Prices range from $45.00 - $75.00 per person for tastings; packages like the Engagement Proposal are more. Food is available, and, another bonus, dogs are welcome. If you’re stuck trying to figure out which tasting to choose, you can’t go wrong with selecting the Estate Tasting for $45.00 per person.

Read about the next winery in this series: Beringer Vineyards or read all of the Chardonnay blogs in our new guide, Chardonnay Wineries of Sonoma and Napa.

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