Bonny Doon Vineyard


  • “Grahm’s new wines are among the best he’s made in years… In three decades of making wine – and waves – his roles included, first and most famously, being an early advocate for Rhône varieties in California, placing him among a group of winemakers known as the Rhône Rangers. His goal now is to focus on terroir-based wines, including a new project at his estate vineyard in San Juan Bautista, Calif., near Hollister just east of Monterey Bay. The latest wines are striking for their structure and individuality, and reunite Grahm with some of the grapes he advocated early on and that helped make his reputation as a serious winemaker. This is the new Grahm, the one he hopes wine lovers will embrace. If he delivers on the promise of his most recent wines, he has a good shot at redemption.” (Wine Spectator, March 2013)
  • “The fomenters of California’s great wine revolution have grayed and are gone. The first far-sighted iconoclasts…paved the way and changed the vinous world for us all. They dreamt of what could be rather than what way, and, among those that have followed, few have so passionately picked up the baton and charged ahead with as much freewheeling zeal and outside-the-lines thinking as the irrepressible Randall Grahm. As much as his path may have zigged and zagged over time, he is not one to simply let the latest trend of the day drive him wherever, and there is no question that, from winemaking to marketing, the drummer’s beat that he hears is uniquely his own… Grahm’s significant role as one of the first champions of Rhône varietals in California. That role needs no great elaboration here as it is widely known and accepted, and the subsequent, still-growing ranks of fellow ‘Rhône Rangers’ owes much to his groundbreaking work. The wine with which he identifies most closely, and the one which has in so many ways become synonymous with Bonny Doon, is his California version of French Chateauneuf-du-Pape under the now famous guise, Le Cigare Volant. There seems in the evolving Randall Grahm a need to be distinctive and special and a gnawing sense that his wines were not. Not, mind you, that he conveys any desire to change the world, but merely to change his place within it and find something elemental, timeless and true. Burgundy is arguably the most site-driven of the world’s great wine regions, and so has its message seduced Grahm. Vin de terroir is his new anthem. Randall has been both questioned and praised in the press as often seeming to be one step ahead of the rest of the California wine industry, but chronically prone to lose focus. We rather see him as neither ahead nor behind, but off on a path of his own—and focus changed is focus nonetheless. We look forward with great anticipation to the next twenty-five years.” (Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine)

Basic Info

Greeting, Earthlings! In 2005 Randall Grahm went back to the egg, as it were, and returned his focus to producing estate grown, Biodynamically farmed and produced wines from his Ca’ del Solo Vineyard in Monterey. Along with fruit purchased from neighboring vineyards (also of the Organic/Biodynamic slant), the shift in winemaking philosophy is away from quantity and back toward quality. You have probably tried many a Bonny Doon wine over the years, but you have never been to this part of the Dooniverse. Prepare to go where no wine has taken you before. Resistance is futile.

Central Coast
Sub region:
Santa Cruz
Year founded:
Randall Grahm
Randall Grahm