Bernardus Winery

Bernardus Winery
5 West Carmel Valley Road
Carmel Valley, CA  92130

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Tasting Room Open Daily 11–5

Insider Tips

What to Buy

’09 Marinus
Ripe red fruits, notes of spice, cedar $46

’09 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
Cherry, plum, earth, cinnamon, cloves, licorice $30

’11 Griva Sauvignon Blanc
Gooseberry, grapefruit, fresh grass, topical fruits, lime, grapefruit $22

Special Notes

Pet friendly, wine club discounts and events, winemaker’s dinners, sustainable farming practices

Story

The story of Bernardus Winery dates back to the 1970s when Ben Pon used to come from his home in Holland to visit the Carmel Valley area and taste its wines. He admired the Cabernet Sauvignon that the few wineries in existence then produced, believing that they signified the American version of a great Bordeaux. In 1989, Ben planted a vineyard and started his winery in Carmel Valley. Almost instantly, Bernardus was recognized for its outstanding Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Bordeaux blend, and Sauvignon Blanc.

The vineyards now span 41 acres and are overseen by Vineyard Manager Matthew Shea who grew up in Carmel Valley as the son of a master gardener, and studied viticulture at Oregon State University. Matthew focuses on growing the best wine grapes possible while expressing the California terroir and the characteristics of each individual vintage. “Our goal is to get the grapes on the truck and into the winery as early as possible so we can get the freshest flavors into the wine,” Matthew says.

In keeping with the true French Bordeaux winemaking tradition, Bernardus uses very large custom-made French oak tanks for blending and sometimes storing the wine without picking up any oaky characteristics. This is one of the many things for which French-trained  Winemaker Dean DeKorth, who decided to join Bernardus in 2005, is very grateful.

Today, about half of the winery’s production is dedicated to Chardonnay, but its flagship wine is the Bordeaux-style Marinus, an exceptional blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. Tasting room guests are invited to sample Bernardus’ larger production wines as well as the single vineyard production wines.

To truly savor everything Carmel Valley has to offer, visitors can stay just two miles to the west of the tasting room at the exquisite Bernardus Lodge, providing 57 sumptuous rooms, a spa, and gourmet cuisine.

An Interview with Winemaker Dean DeKorth

T&T: You’re described as an American who is a French winemaker. What exactly does that mean?

DD: When I met my wife, I was almost 30 years old and playing drums for a living. I thought it was time to “get a real job.” Since my only other passion besides music was wine, I decided to become a winemaker. My wife, who’s from France, suggested that we could move to France and I could learn there. So we sold everything we owned and moved; first to Nantes, where I studied French language for two years at the University; then to Burgundy where I studied  Viticulture and Enology at the Lycée Viticole in Beaune, then at the Université de Bourgogne in Dijon. For the next six years, I worked for several wineries in Burgundy. We then decided to return to the Northern Central Coast.

T&T: Can you tell us about your small production and vineyard designate wines, and what you’re trying to achieve with them?

DD: Our owner, Mr. Pon, has always aspired to be the best and wanted us to also produce single vineyard wines from a selection of the best vineyards on the Central Coast. Along with our own Marinus, which is a Bordeaux-style red wine from our estate vineyard here in Carmel Valley, we have been developing a small portfolio of very limited production Pinots, Chards, and Sauvignon Blancs from vineyards grown by our friends Gary Pisoni, Gary Franscioni, and Michael Griva. Each of these bottlings represents only a few hundred cases.

T&T: Is there a wine that is especially dear to your heart?

DD: Our Griva Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc. We only produce about 100 cases of 375 milliliter bottles per year and only in years where we have naturally occurring Botrytis on the grapes. If you’re patient and gently press and let them slowly ferment just right, you don’t even need to sterile filter the wine because it has a perfect balance of sweetness, moderate alcohol, and enough crisp acidity to keep the wine refreshing and not cloyingly sweet.


Bernardus 2009 Marinus

Amenities

Tasting Room: Yes

Complimentary Tastings: No

Tastings — By Appointment Only: No

Tours: No

Tours — By Appointment Only: No

Private Tours: No

VIP & Educational Experiences: No

Exceptional Views: No

Club Member Lounge: No

Restaurant / Deli: Yes

Food / Wine Parings: No

Gift Shop: Yes

Wedding Facilities: Yes

Event Facilities: No

Corp. Meetings: Yes

Guest House on Premises: No

Lawn Games: Yes

Family Friendly: No

Pet Friendly: No

Family Owned and Operated: No

Wine Cave: No

Art/Architectural Interest: No

Sustainable Practices: No

Events

Videos

Bernardus Wild Mushroom Risotto

Authentic risotto requires continuous stirring for at least 20 minutes, but the creamy texture is worth the effort. Elevate this rice dish by using wild mushrooms and a good quality white wine.

Bernardus Black Truffle Martini

Chef Cal’s Black Truffle Martini are available at the Truffle Dinner held annually each December at Marinus Restaurant at Bernardus Lodge. This unique martini was devised as the signature aperitif for this exclusive event.

Bernardus Lodge & Winery Lavender Strawberry Shortcake

These aren't just any old shortcakes! Savor the sweet delicacy of Lavender Strawberry Shortcakes from Chef Ben Spungin of Bernardus Winery & Lodge.