Firmly Rooted in Family
Blanchard Family Wines is the story of how wine can bring people together, build bridges and ignite passions that make dreams come true. This boutique winery expresses the vision of two brothers and the uniting qualities of great wine shared among friends and family. A first-generation wine venture, the roots of the company are grounded in a family concept. The founders, Mark and James Blanchard, follow the tradition of two Blanchard brothers that can be traced back to at least the last four generations in the family. Only separated by two years in age, they played the same sports, had the same interests, and the younger Mark was often seen following James around in emulation. In fact, they ran so closely as children that everyone referred to them simply as the Blanchard Boys.
As fate would have it, from a Midwestern family that would sooner have domestic beer in the fridge than wine in the cellar, it was actually fine wine that changed the path of these two brothers. During Mark’s studies at a liberal arts college in the Chicago area, he began a job as a stock boy at a local specialty liquor store. Quickly his interest in this mysterious culture of wine began to grow and after graduation he became the manager and wine buyer for the location. At the same time, across the country, James was stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in the Central Coast wine region of California. James would fly his helicopter over the vineyards of Santa Maria, Santa Ynez, and Paso Robles and then later go visit these wineries and educate himself about winemaking, eventually becoming a collector of fine wine. Mark was finding education through sales and daily tastings with wine distributors, while James was discovering the world of wine firsthand in California.
Over the next six years Mark worked for various wineries in both Napa and Sonoma County, eventually settling down in the town of Healdsburg in the Russian River Valley. James moved several times with the Air Force, spending significant time in Florida and Colorado, but continued to visit Mark to expand their wine knowledge together. All the while, they both dreamed of someday making and selling their own wine. During one of James’ visits to Sonoma County, over a decade ago, while the Blanchard Boys were relaxing for the evening with a cigar and a glass of wine ( naturally ), James turned to Mark and said the right time was now. It was there that the foundations of Blanchard Family Wines were born.
Blanchard Family Wines is dedicated to the creation of limited production, hand-crafted, artisan wines, sourced from the top vineyards in the Sonoma Valley. We showcase the world-class appellations of Russian River, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek and Alexander Valley and most of our wines are either 100% varietal or single-vineyard products. Our family roots blend into our company philosophy, from our logo to our product names. The symbol used as our company logo was created by the founders’ father, Steve, as a tribute to the family tradition. The two interlinking Bs in the center represent the two Blanchard brothers joined in a common bond. This not only represents the sets of brothers up through James and Mark, but continues to James’ two boys, Jackson and Cash ( for which two of the wines are named ), the fifth generation of Blanchard Boys. The outer B of the symbol takes a feminine form to pay tribute to the mother’s role in shaping of the generations of Blanchard Boys.
Early in the evolution of BFW, we were fortunate to cross paths with Jene Chapanar, a veteran winemaker and friend to many in the Sonoma wine making community. Through Jene's tutelage we procure an array of prime fruit and apply a simple but classic philosophy to our wine making; allow the vineyard, varietal and vintage to express their individual characteristics while applying gentle wine making and guidance along the way. Jene is a craftsman, and the wines showcase the respect and passion we hold for Sonoma County and its bounty of superb vineyard sites and varietals. Each year is different and Mother Nature runs the show, but we accommodate and acclimate to her whims in order to create wines of distinction and typicity. Less is more and good wine making is always a lesson in restraint. Please enjoy our wines and welcome to the family.