I was by Benson Vineyards a couple of weeks ago with friends who were in town. As it turns out the Benson family had just completed their new, and spectacular, tasting room.
Nature has already given the Benson Winery one of the most incredible settings in the Pacific Northwest with sweeping Lake Chelan views projecting across their 28 acres of grape vines. For years, I had seen plans of the now complete tasting rooms and barrel rooms, but now, if you haven't been to Benson Vineyards lately, you really haven't been there at all!
The vision of all this started in the Benson family with their purchase of the property 11 years ago, and it has been taking form ever since. It is a family affair, where you will find Kathy (Mom), Paul (Dad), and son Jeff and Scott about tending to some aspect of the operation. Scott is the Winemaker as well! The family tradition at Benson Vineyards includes some adopted members, like employee Beth McGuffin who has also started making her first wines with the Benson family as well.
In their 28 acres of grapes, they have 11 varieties with 7 reds and 4 whites. Benson Vineyards is the only an all estate winery in the valley, meaning all of their grapes come from their own local production. Their red signature wine is their Sangiovese. Getting the agricultural and winemaking part right is a key part of making great wines. Great wines, charming new facilities and a beautiful location make a visit to Benson Winery a "must do" when in the Lake Chelan Valley.
Since May, besides the production buildings you may have visited in the past, there are additional buildings for barrel storage and a two story main tasting room with a commercial kitchen on the lower level all done with a Mediterranean flair.
But, before we get to the main tasting room, the barrel storage room just east of the main tasting room has its own tasting room that can be used for events or private tastings. It fronts the lower patios, gardens, lawns and stage that use Lake Chelan, Bear Mountain and Chelan Butte as their backdrop.
The grounds have several Cantera Fountains, including one near the tasting room entrance and one in the patio area. The patio area can be used for events. Kathy Benson told me that events up to about 150 people work very well on the grounds. There is a stage and restrooms as well as the commercial kitchen and private tasting room all of which can be used for a private event while the main tasting room can be kept open for regular business.
Once you enter the main tasting room, there are tasting bars on both sides of the room and a fireplace. The Bensons did much of the construction themselves but utilized Blodgett construction for finish work. The result may have taken awhile, but I think you will agree, it was worth the effort.
My group had a great time when we visited the new facilities at Benson Vineyards. We wandered, taking in the phenomenal views and fun atmosphere. Then we went in and sampled some wines, chatted with other folks having a great time and smiled at the sunshine sparkling off Lake Chelan from the deck. I can recommend the experience.
To schedule your event or learn more, you can contact the Benson Winery at 509-687-0313 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the web site at www.bensonvineyards.com
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