If you’re deep down in a wine rut, then Imagery Winery has the cure for “Sauvignon blah.” Imagery Winery in Glen Ellen, focuses on showcasing uncommon and little known grape varietals in limited-production wines. The unusual grapes make for interesting wines, especially unique amongst California wine culture. Imagery is the sister winery to the larger Benziger, run by Joe Benziger, who started out making wine with his family for their Glen Ellen brand. His career making artisan wine started when he realized that outstanding grapes from special vineyards were getting lost in large production wines. These exceptional grapes needed to shine in their own artisanal wines. A sampling of Imagery’s “artistic palette” of wines includes: WOW Oui (Sauvignon Blanc), White Burgundy, Viogneir, Barbera, Cinsault, Lagrein, Mourvèrdre, Tannat, Tempranillo and Teroldego.
What’s inside the bottles isn’t the only unique part. International artists design all the labels. Each Imagery label features one-of-a-kind artwork; the bottles “match the expressiveness and originality of the wine inside.” The unifying thread between over 300 original works is that each features a representation of the Parthenon. The first label created for Imagery was by Bob Nugent. Nugent and Benziger met while breaking up a fistfight at a polo match. More than 20 years since the first bottle, Nugent continues to collaborate with Benziger. He is the curator of the Imagery art collection, and he commissions new works for the labels from international artists that represent Brazil, China, Cuba, France, Germany, Canada, England, Japan and more.
The winery is not just a feast for the taste buds, but for the eyes as well. Outside the main tasting room, a wall of Imagery bottles displaying their artistic labels greets guests and sets the tone for the Imagery experience. To get a closer look at the art, you only need to into the gallery or tasting room to see the original works. Nearly all of the paintings, tapestries, and sculptures featured on the labels are on display. Replicas of your favorite pieces are available for purchase. You can enjoy the ambience any day of the week, 361 days of the year. Tastings are $10 for about 5 wines. The only caveat is that they ask that you call ahead if you have a party of 8 or more. If you are unable to visit Imagery in person, you can still try their delectable wines through their club program. There are two membership options available: the Imagery Estate Winery Club, which provides six 2-bottle shipments, or the Artistry Series Club, which provides four 3-bottle shipments. A taste for unusual grapes and an eye for beauty have made Benziger’s quest to showcase rare flavors a flavorful success. Stop by Imagery for a taste of the unexpected.
Contributing Author Renee Smith
Brielle Cotterman and Paige Stover Hague are the principals of Crowninshield Consulting. Their firm partners with professional advisors throughout the country assisting with succession planning and transfer of passion investments. They also work with individual collectors who seek to inventory, evaluate, and/or transfer highly-valued items of personal property with specific wealth transfer and philanthropic objectives. For more information about their company, please contact Brielle at 765-776-0492 or Brielle@CrowninshieldConsulting.com.
by Paige Stover Hague, Esq. and Brielle Cotterman