Mike is a fifth-generation Californian who grew up in Sonoma County and started working in Dick Arrowood’s cellar at Chateau St. Jean at the age of 18. While pursuing his enology degree at Fresno State, Mike also spent his summers farming at Four Brothers, his family’s vineyard. Soon thereafter, Mike served as assistant winemaker under the legendary Helen Turley at Landmark Vineyards, and then at Chappellet. Mike garnered numerous honors—including recognition by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate as “Wine Personality of the Year”—as head winemaker at Hartford Family Winery before partnering with Joe and Mary to found Benovia in 2005.
As a winemaker, Mike listens. He listens to the vineyard, to what the grapes are saying, to nature unfolding each year, and to the wine during fermentation. “At Benovia I only have one job: to create wines that capture the essence of this place and this time, and for me, no wine reflects its place and time more than Pinot Noir.”
When he isn’t making wine, Mike serves as the President of the Russian River Valley Winegrowers, on the Board of Directors for Sonoma County Vintners and travels to wine regions that inspire him, and indulges his personal weakness for Burgundy, grower Champagne, and Riesling.
Mike is a panelist for the Exploring the Neighborhoods of the Russian River Valley - Seminar on Saturday, March 7, 2020.