The winery "Hanzell Vineyards" is located in the Mayacamas mountains north of the city of Sonoma in California Sonoma County
(Region North Coast
). It was founded by former US Ambassador to Italy James David Zellerbach (1892-1963) after his retirement. The name "Hanzell" was formed from the first letters of the first name of his wife Hana and the surname. Zellerbach bought in 1948 a property in the size of 80 hectares. His goal was to build a winery based on the Burgundian model and to produce top wines in burgundy style. The winery really evokes associations with the famous chateau of Château du Vougeot. The first vines of the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varieties were planted in 1953 on 2.5 hectares. The first grape harvest took place four years later in 1957. Zellerbach introduced steel tanks and started to grow wines from the two grape varieties in barriques. For the first time in California, the wooden barrels were introduced from Burgundy.
Although Zellerbach was only able to produce a total of six years before he died, he set a widely recognized and faked quality standard. After the death of Zellerbach there were several owners, the high quality of the wines remained unchanged. Since 1975, the estate is owned by the de Brye family, since 1991 this is Alexander de Brye. The winemaker Bob Sessions contributed significantly to the success of the house, he held this role from 1973 to 2001. As his successor Michael Terrien was hired, his daughter Jean Arnold Sessions has since been president of the company. The vineyards cover 17 hectares of vineyards. Of these eleven are planted with Chardonnay and six with Pinot Noir. Every year around 6,000 boxes (72,000 bottles) of wine are produced.