Landmark Vineyards was founded in 1974 in Windsor by Bill Mabry and his family. In 1989 one of its investors, Damaris Deere Ethridge, took control of the estate and relocated it to Sonoma Valley. Deere Ethridge managed the estate and hired consulting winemaker Helen Turley and winemaker Eric Stern to improve the wines. The estate soon became noted for its Chardonnays. In 2011 the estate was sold to Roll Global, parent company of Fiji Water. Landmark has an 11-acre vineyard but sources most of its grapes from highly-regarded vineyards in Sonoma, Carneros, the Russian River Valley and Santa Barbara County. Landmark makes Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Grenache and Syrah.
Carneros AVA, also known as Los Carneros, is at the southern end of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys at the top of the San Francisco Bay. The 8,000 vineyard acres are mostly planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, both of which thrive in the district’s cool, marine climate. Carneros became an AVA in 1983 and it has attracted foreign wine companies along with local producers. It has been especially appealing to European producers of sparkling wines including the giant Spanish cava producers Codorniu and Frexinet, and the French Champagne house Taittinger. Codorniu in Carneros is called Artesa, and Frexinet’s Carneros brand is Gloria Ferrer. Taittinger calls its Carneros winery Domaine Carneros. The European producers also make still wines in Carneros.
This white variety originated in Burgundy, but is now grown around the world. Its flexibility to thrive in many regions translates to wide flavor profile in the market. Chardonnay is commonly used in making Champagne and sparkling wines.