Jean-Jacques Michel planted the first vines in 1979 in what is now known as Michel-Schlumberger Benchland Estate. Jean-Jacques, a native of Switzerland, traveled extensively across Northern California searching for the perfect place to establish his winery. He immediately recognized the potential of the Dry Creek Valley climate and soils to produce premium Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Chardonnay grapes. He believed the contoured exposures of Wine Creek Canyon would create unique flavors, especially in red wines.
Dry Creek Valley is acclaimed for a reason. It provides the perfect climate for growing balanced, evenly ripened fruit. Our hillside vineyards on our estate experience varying degrees of fog, wind, and sun exposure during the growing season. The geographic and climatic diversity of our estate results in age-worthy wines of great complexity and structure from elegant, balanced reds to delicate, vibrant whites. Our estate terrain, combined with this ideal climate, allows us to consistently offer a diverse portfolio of 100% estate produced wines.
In 1991, Jacques Schlumberger joined the winery team, bringing with him more than 400 years of a family legacy of winemaking in Alsace, France, at Domaine Viticoles Schlumberger. The Michel-Schlumberger brand was born, and over the years, the reputation of the wines and the beauty of the estate garnered attention from around the world. In 2011, Jacques Schlumberger retired, and the estate evolved again, with a new ownership and management team committed to taking the wines and the winery to even greater heights.
We are fortunate to offer such a diverse portfolio of 100% estate produced wines. Ultimately, we let the estate decide which varietals are best suited for each of the microclimates on our property. The intricacy of this landscape provides a perfect backdrop for a range of varietals to thrive, each handpicked as an ideal match for the estate terroir. As a result, we focus on Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc for our white wine program, and Cabernet, Merlot, Zinfandel, and Syrah, for our red program not only for specific varietals but also for unique and award-winning red wine blends.
The mission-style architecture of the Estate harkens to Michel-Schlumberger’s European roots, while honoring the influence of the Spanish in early California history. Today, the winery’s white stucco walls, terracotta tiled roof, bell tower, and grand courtyard offer a spectacular place to enjoy a day in Wine Country. Our estate heritage is reflected in our guest experience. The guest experience includes tasting of our estate wine, barrel tasting and library wine tasting opportunities. We offer a walking cellar tour as well as a motorized tour through the vineyards. We encourage our guests to enjoy the property even further by taking advantage of our onsite luxury guest suite. We invite you to share a bottle of wine on the private terrace or relax around the reflecting pool during your visit.
From the very beginning in 1979, we remain committed to maintaining a deep, personal commitment to sustainable winegrowing and preserving the land for generations to come.