“By the early 1960s … a revolution in winemaking was starting.
Its birthplace was in Sonoma County at Hanzell.”
The Judgment of Paris
It is noted that Hanzell Vineyard’s Founding Proprietor, Italian Ambassador James David Zellerbach, told people his goal was to make California wine as good as the best of Europe. In 1948, as a Captain of Industry, J.D. Zellerbach began a combined journey of passions that would last through the end of his life. Not only was he involved in writing and designing the Marshall Plan, he was also tasked by President Truman to travel to Europe to implement the plan. While leading this ambitious effort, Zellerbach was also at the helm of his highly successful business, Crown Zellerbach. It was during this time of travel and valuable world experiences that J.D. Zellerbach discovered and purchased his first fourteen acres of private oak woodland on the steep hillside of the Mayacamas Range overlooking the town of Sonoma; and so, this revolution in winemaking was born.
For over fifty years, Hanzell Vineyards has been the home of great innovation and invention. From being the first in the world to create a temperature-controlled stainless steel fermenters and the first controlled malolactic fermentation to their current day one-ton tankitos and clone and rootstock trials, their creativity and ingenuity continues to set standards in the industry – the Hanzell way. Since 1961, Hanzell Vineyards has grown, produced and bottled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir solely from their estate-grown fruit. It is so apparent that the team at Hanzell Vineyards, both past and present, have given 100% of themselves to realize this shared dream “to produce wine equal to the finest in the world.” Just as their founder before them, the Hanzell team lives out Zellerbach’s legacy by continuing on a common passion and an attention to detail like no other.
“We are too small, too intimate for us to be anything but a family. And that name, family, is a good word for it,” said Hanzell Winemaker Emeritus Bob Sessions.
To read more about the family behind Hanzell Vineyards, please click here.
Originally called Hanzell Farm, the now forty-six acre estate in Sonoma County is comprised of Ambassadors 1953 Vineyard, Zellerbach Vineyard, Day Vineyard, de Brye Vineyard, Sessions Vineyard, and Ramos Vineyard. The original planting, the Ambassadors 1953 Vineyard, continues to produce to this day and is now the oldest Pinot Noir vineyard and the oldest continuously producing Chardonnay vineyard in all of north North America. In order to achieve such high quality for so many years and to continue that standard for years to come, Hanzell Vineyards realizes it is necessary to consider the implications of all viticultural practices. For example, they live by the farming philosophy that quality grapes must be tended to by good people, such as José Ramos Esquivel, Hanzells 35-year veteran as Director of Vineyard Operations. They believe that the critical characteristic of all great attentive farmers, whether they practice organic, biodynamic, or sustainable farming, is mindfulness.
“After all these years caring for the vineyards, I have a deep connection with the ground, with this place and with every vine; I feel I know each one individually. I have a sixth sense and when I feel something, I have to go and check. Hanzell is a special place and will always be home,” says José Ramos Esquivel, Director of Vineyard Operations.
Get to know to portfolio built by such an innovative, driven team of individuals! You can read all about Hanzell Vineyards’ exquisite Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Sauvignons by visiting there website here. Hanzell grown. Hanzell produced. Hanzell bottled. Paved with passion and proven by loyalty and success. Cheers!