Bonny Doon Vineyard

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Randall Grahm with bottles of Bonny Doon wines

Bonny Doon Vineyard is a winery based in the city of Santa Cruz in the central coast of California. It was started by Randall Grahm in 1983.[1] Bonny Doon was amongst the first Californian wineries to embrace Rhone varietals, giving Randall Grahm the nickname "The Rhone Ranger". The winery is known for its untraditional labels, including illustrations by Ralph Steadman, Bascove, Grady McFerrin, and Gary Taxali. In recent years, the winery has embraced some slightly obscure Italian varieties,[1] screwcaps, and biodynamic production.[2]


Bonny Doon's Le Cigare Volant (the Flying Cigar) named after the law in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC prohibiting flying saucers from traveling over the region's vineyards.

After the vines in its own vineyard were destroyed by Pierce's disease in 1994, Bonny Doon supported its wine production by purchasing grapes from other California vineyards, as well as vineyards in Oregon (including Bethel Heights Vineyard[3]) and Europe. The winery grew significantly in this period. In 2006, prior to embracing a new strategy, the winery sold more than 450,000 cases of wine.[1]

The winery has changed focus in recent years from "every day table wines to high-end, boutique vintages".[4] They sold their Big House wines and Cardinal Zin labels in 2006, and in 2008 sold their old tasting room and winery, moving into new locations in Santa Cruz.[5]


Bonny Doon Raspberry port-style wine

Grahm, long a promoter of "terroir", has over the past several years acquired one property in San Juan Bautista that he hopes can be dry farmed. Reflecting on the abandonment of his larger brands and criticizing the negociant-model of winery production that is dominant in the industry, he told The New York Times in an April 2009 interview, "You have to put your money where your mouth is. Purchased grapes are less risky, but you’re never going to make a vin de terroir."[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Asimov, Eric (April 21, 2009). "His Big Idea Is to Get Small". The New York Times. Retrieved April 22, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Submerge Your Own Ego" Dialogue Talk.
  3. ^ Anthony Dias Blue "New Wines Hit Market In A Veritable Deluge" The Evening Independent May 15th, 1985
  4. ^ Genevieve Bookwalter (2008-07-08). "Bonny Doon Vineyard moving to Santa Cruz". Santa Cruz Sentinel (Santa Cruz Sentinel). 
  5. ^ "Bonny Doon sells Big House and Cardinal Zin brands to The Wine Group (Press Release)". Bonny Doon Vineyard. Retrieved 2008-07-30. 

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