Somewhere around 2004 living in the Bay Area, Ron got the bug to own a vineyard…

Aerial view of vineyards with yellow fall leaves and the driveway entrance

Given his marketing background the natural entry point into the wine business would have been much further downstream than actually growing grapes.

Maybe it was his Italian heritage—“it’s in my blood…I’m sure I had ancestors that tended the vines in the old country”. Or perhaps his insistence on being completely vertically integrated from the growing process all the way through production and marketing. He wanted to make and sell wine from his own vineyard.

It was supposed to be in Sonoma.
Then it was supposed to be in the Livermore Valley.
It didn’t turn out to be either.

Wooden barrel in the vineyard with yellow leaves
Pink Pinot gris grapes on the vine in the sunshine light

Trish, meanwhile started to be more and more interested in the dream herself. Not the farming part…that was Ron’s thing…but the chemistry behind the making of great wine. And eventually the marketing of it in her own tasting room.

That said, the pickings were slim in little Livermore to bring the dream to life. Sonoma was now too far with Trish’s job.

Then like a bolt from the blue, Intel swept in and made Trish an offer she couldn’t refuse.

Benza Vineyards Hillsboro Oregon Willamette Valley Winery

The offer meant leaving the lifetime security of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where she ran the Computation Directorate of 1000 mathematicians and computer scientists to contemplate a move to Hillsboro, Oregon.

Ron and Trish realized this could be the fulfillment of a dream…the storied Willamette Valley. In their view, the best Pinot Noir in the US. The opportunity was there for the taking. And they did.

Ron was frequently reminded by Trish who said throughout the process that “see…if you keep the dream in sight…keep it alive…eventually it will happen.”

Darned if Trish wasn’t right (again that is).

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