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Italy
California

THE JOURNEY INTO WINEMAKING

spans 5 generations with its origin starting in a small town in Northern Italy.
1881

Pietro Zanin

was born in 1881 in Rivamonte, Italy. He always believed that wine was an essential part of a meal so at an early age he bought a vineyard in the Soave (Verona) area to make sure wine would always be available at the dinner table. There would be no meal without a glass of wine and he would insist that all the grandchildren would have a taste of wine during lunch and dinner.

1904

Fortunato Zanin

also born in Rivamonte, Italy in 1904 took his father’s stewardship of the land seriously. In his parting days, he passed on his father’s advice to his own children, which was to appreciate the fruits that land could offer. It was with this mandate in mind that the 3rd generation of Zanin family members set out to cultivate their land.

1939

Emilio Zanin

was born in 1939 in the small alpine village of Agordo, nestled in the Italian Alps. As a young child, he was fortunate enough to spend enjoyable times working and playing in his grandfather Pietro’s vineyards. Years after Emilio immigrated to the US, his fond childhood memories led him to the vineyards of Sonoma County. In 2006 he purchased a Pinot Noir vineyard renaming it “Marina's Estate”, in honor of his wife. In 2010, they proudly launched their inaugural 2008 Vintage Pinot Noir.

1970

Luca Zanin

was born in Flushing, New York in 1970. After college and following his father's lead, he purchased his estate that he renamed "Simpatico Ranch", the producer of Bennett Valley's award winning Chardonnay. Today, Luca and his wife Elizabeth live with their three children, Giovanni, Francesca, and Matteo on "Simpatico Ranch". They spend their time working and playing in the vineyards in the hopes that they will carry on their passion for growing grapes and making fine wines.

2003+

Zanin Kids

Founder & Owner
Emilio Zanin
Founder & Owner
Luca Zanin
Founder & Owner
Elizabeth Zanin
Winemaker
Toni Stockhausen
Sales Director
Lee Stipp
Account Manager
Donna Joyner
Tasting Room & Hospitality Associate
Felicia Lubrano
The Team
THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE BENNETT VALLEY CELLARS
Founder & Owner
Emilio Zanin
Emilio Zanin was born 1939 in the small alpine village of Agordo, nestled in the Italian Alps. As a young child, he was fortunate enough to spend enjoyable times working and playing in his grandfather's vineyards in the famed Soave region of Italy. As a young man, Emilio immigrated to the US in 1969 to pursue a career in the food ingredient business. Many years later his fond childhood memories led him to the vineyards of Sonoma County, California.

In 2006 he purchased an estate vineyard that he renamed "Marina's Estate", in honor of his wife, soon to be followed with the founding of Bennett Valley Cellars with his son Luca. In 2010, they proudly launched their in augural 2008 Vintage Pinot Noir.

Today, Emilio and Marina can be seen walking and enjoying their vineyard property while sipping a glass of their Pinot Noir.
Founder & Owner
Luca Zanin
Luca Zanin was born in Flushing New York in 1970. Following college, he joined his father to start a career in the food ingredient business by forming their own company, ATP. As a key supplier of ingredients to the wine industry, it was at ATP that Luca's passion for wine started to emerge. Following his father's lead, he soon started to seek his own vineyard property in the Bennett Valley. After much evaluation, he purchased his estate that he renamed "Simpatico Ranch", the producer of Bennett Valley's first limited release and award winning 2010 Chardonnay.

Today, Luca and his wife Elizabeth live with their three children, Giovanni, Francesca, and Matteo on "Simpatico Ranch". They spend a great deal of their time working and playing in the vineyards, showing their children good stewardship of their land in the hopes that the next generation will carry on with their deep rooted relationship for growing grapes and making fine wines.
Founder & Owner
Elizabeth Zanin
After a long and fruitful career in the pharmaceutical industry, sharing her husband Luca’s passion for wine, Elizabeth joined the daily activities of Bennett Valley Cellars. This decision led to moving the entire family to Sonoma County where today, Elizabeth, Luca, and their three children have made their home on Simpatico Ranch.

These days Elizabeth spends most her time juggling the Retail and Marketing aspects of the Tasting room located just off the main square in Sonoma, while raising her three children in the hopes that they will develop the inspiration to one day take over this family winery.
Winemaker
Toni Stockhausen
It would be accurate to state that Toni Stockhausen’s winemaking talents were predestined.

Just prior to her birth, her father Karl Stockhausen, originally from Hamburg, Germany, had immigrated to Australia to take a winemaking position at the then tiny Lindeman’s winery. During his tenure the winery grew in production from 500 to 30,000 tons.

In 1984 she returned to her winemaking roots by working as the Assistant Winemaker at Tisdall Winery in Victoria, while subsequently attending Charles Sturt University to pursue a degree in Enology and Viticulture. In 1986 she was promoted to Winemaker at Tisdall, her title until her departure in 1994.

In 1996 Toni traveled through to taste her way through Burgundy and the Rhône Valley. Her exposure to European wines, as well as the great wines from Australia and California has shaped her winemaking towards a more classical style.
In 1999 Toni arrived in Monterey County, California, to work for two years overseeing the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay. After her relocation to Sonoma County, Toni was tapped as Winemaker for their new Bennett Valley Cellars venture. At Bennett Valley Cellars, Toni works closely with owners Emilio and Luca Zanin to produce limited production Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from their estate grapes.
Sales Director
Lee Stipp
By the time Lee Stipp, who was raised in Edna Valley, was old enough to think about a career he knew his passion for the grape, its journey from the ground to the glass, and the business behind it made him destined for a life in the wine business.

With a diverse background in wine sales and marketing, Lee brings experience in building brands both small and large from all corners of the wine world. Every wine has a story and Lee’s personal philosophy is to convey all angles from grape to glass. Combining studies in viticulture and continuing education in the Court of Master Sommeliers, Lee brings knowledge, passion and experience to his job at Bennett Valley Cellars.
Account Manager
Donna Joyner
Born and raised in San Francisco, Donna’s classic Italian-American family helped her develop a lifetime appreciation of great food, superb wine and the warm, welcoming entertaining that comes along with both.

Donna’s love for wine and people has served her well in the wine industry. In 2013 Donna joined Bennett Valley Cellars to manage on-premise relations, helping to showcase the incredible quality of the wines to restaurants, bistros, and wine bars.

Donna currently lives in Sonoma Valley.
Tasting Room & Hospitality Associate
Felicia Lubrano
Spontaneous and vivacious, Felicia was born on the enchanting green Island of Ischia in the Italian Mediterranean. A strong critical sense and the thirst for knowledge inspired her love of travel from an early age. Practically from infancy she demonstrates gourmet tendencies, preferring green olives and chili peppers to sweets. At three she was caught red-handed by her grandmother trying to taste the local white wine which she herself had placed at the center of the kitchen table along with a loaf of bread in imitation of the age-old Italian mealtime ritual. She candidly explained to her "Nonna" how inebriating the wine fumes were.

At twenty she moves to the beautiful urban jungle that is Rome - where she obtains a Degree in Communications with a Thesis on the Marketing of California Wines. What intrigued her was how a nation like the U.S. and with a relatively recent history and short enological roots could so quickly catapult its wines to international success in terms of quality, production and consumption. It was on a trip to the U.S. to research this enigma that she fell in love with California, a modern state where an intact and ever-present nature along with the world's finest enological techniques turn out robust and luscious wines.

In June 2014 she realized her dream by moving from Italy to Sonoma County where she joined the Bennett Valley Cellars team, enabling her to make a living following her passion. Today Felicia greets, entertains, exchanges ideas and knowledge with visitors from all corners of the world. She guides them in tasting both estate and artisanal wines.

All of the above are reasons why Felicia, just as her name implies, considers herself a happy person!