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Mike Sullivan

Co-Owner & Winemaker


Mike Sullivan is wine country through and through. He grew up in the Russian River Valley area and received his degree in fermentation science at Fresno State. He became passionate about wine, particularly Pinot Noir, when he tasted great red Burgundies and later California Pinots.

Mike has crafted exceptional wines on the Sonoma Coast since 1987, and has a long track record of excellence.

As a winemaker, Mike listens. He listens to the vineyards; he listens to what the grapes are saying; he listens to nature unfolding each year, and he listens to the wine during fermentation. He listens to what is needed and strives to make the wine his senses tell him is there. He does not follow a standard recipe for each wine, but instead really listens -- and most importantly, understands -- what is needed to bring everything together.

Ronn Wiegand, MS and MW, called Mike "Winemaker of the Year," and Robert Parker named him the "Wine Personality of the Year." The Sonoma County Harvest Fair gave his Chardonnay the sweepstakes award for white wines. Then it gave his Zinfandel the sweepstakes award for red wines.

Robert Parker has said of Mike, "I'm a big fan . . . he seems to have the brilliant ability to convert Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel into wines of considerable character and individuality." Not bad for a local Sonoma County boy.



"No wine reflects its place and time more than Pinot Noir. At Benovia I have only one job: to create wines that capture the essence of this place and this time."