The Blackstone Winery The Blackstone story is one of two brothers, Derek and Courtney Benham. Raised in the "Great Valley" of central California, amid vineyards and almond orchards, they learned the great tenet of the land: it gives back only what you give it, only maximum efforts yield maximum results. Neither Benham has been afraid to exert maximum effort and extend himself. After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley in 1981 and 1982 respectively, the Benham Brothers embarked on promising careers in the wine industry with the Barengo Winery. By 1985 they were running the Barengo Winery/Lost Hills Winery in Lodi, California. In 1990, after a myriad of experiences in growing, sourcing and marketing wines, the Benham Brothers created the Blackstone Winery with a single purpose: to share the good life with people everywhere who enjoy elegant wines. To accomplish their goal, Derek and Courtney, along with winemaker Dennis Hill, focus on the task of creating wines that share an integrated balance of varietal flavor, oak extraction, and tannins. In order to maintain stylistic integrity and to assure consistent, quality wines, the Benham Brothers have developed long term agreements with quality growers in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, and Monterey counties. The Benhams work in close contact with all the growers and they contribute to all strategic areas of the business - from sourcing grapes and blending the Blackstone wines, to overseeing the sales and distribution efforts. These arrangements and dedication have catapulted Blackstone Winery to the forefront of highly acclaimed California wineries in just a few short years. Although the winery produces Chardonnay as well as Merlot, it is the winery's juicy, supple Merlot wines that have rightfully earned the Benham Brothers fame and fortune. Presently, Blackstone Winery produces two Merlot offerings: the Blackstone Napa Valley Merlot and the Blackstone California Merlot. Both wines have garnered considerable critical acclaim. Since 1994 alone, Blackstone wines have won more than a dozen prestigious awards at major California and International competitions. In addition, Wine & Spirits Magazine and Beverage and Food Dynamics have given the Blackstone California Merlot top honors. "I really enjoy creating fine varietal wines. The main focus of my time is...to create memorable Blackstone wines that are flavorful, balanced and interesting," says Blackstone's winemaker, Dennis Hill. With the dedication of the Benhams behind him, Dennis Hill has succeeded in fashioning a string of memorable Merlot wines - easy to drink elegant and flavorful wines of distinction. Enjoy!