Incredibly well-received wines passing along the Bee Hunter spirit and sharing the good flavors of Mendocino wine country.
As it approaches its initial decade in the wine industry, Mendocino County’s ultra-boutique Bee Hunter Wine continues to make a notable name for itself among California’s high-quality producers. Its resilient assortment of single-vineyard selections is stamped with the terroir of their origins that are specific to the Mendocino growing area that typically produces extraordinary fruit and resultant wines.
“We are devoted to bringing out subtle differences in growing areas within Mendocino and Anderson Valley,” informed co-owner Andy DuVigneaud and Bee Hunter Wine’s winemaker. “We are proud of our versatility in that we are able to bring recognition to our neighbors and friends by utilizing their fruit,” echoed Ali DuVigneaud, Andy’s wife and co-owner. “For all practicality, we consider ourselves detectives who are able to bring quality fruit and wines to Highway 128.”
In addition to a simply marvelous last name, the couple also brings a plethora of experience to Bee Hunter Wine. Andy was born and raised in Signal Ridge in Philo while Ali is a transplanted Floridian. Andy began his wine career with iconic Navarro Vineyards and Winery, long considered the paramount winery in Mendocino. He started as a harvest intern and was asked to stay the course. DuVigneaud’s experience with Navarro’s top staff and products paved the way to his becoming a leading winemaker. Along the way, he acquired a certificate from UC Davis’s enology program that also boosted his resume and industry statue.
He refers to his winemaking style as a “balance between art and science,” that is constantly pressed into action. Andy DuVigneaud has always displayed a keen interest in small batch fruit that can be turned into impeccable wines as the many high scores and industry scores that Bee Hunter Wines has amassed during its existence.
The name ‘Bee Hunter Wine’ is a wonderful story unto itself. The name came from a book called the Boontling Dicionary; words derived from the area’s fading Boonville dialect (now only spoken by less than a hundred people) to describe someone who enjoys the sweet honey of life but is able to avoid the stings that life can present.
Bee Hunter Wine first saw the light of day in 2013, when the company produced around 1,000 cases of premium wines. That number grew to over 3,000 cases by 2019 and Bee Hunter Wine enjoyed the prospect of its budding reputation among the area’s top producers.
A devastating fire called the Mendocino Complex Fire occurred in 2018 and cut deeply into available fruit for Bee Hunter Wines. The equally harmful drought of 2020 to 2021 also presented new challenges to Andy DuVigneaud.
“Many of our fruit sources either perished or became unusable during these past few years,” he declared during a recent interview. “We had built our business on finding and developing small vineyards in and around Anderson Valley. Luckily, the 2019 fruit that included the 2019 Anderson Valley Chardonnay was already in production and unaffected by these twinges of nature. Some of the vineyards have already been replanted, so there’s a good deal of optimism for the future.”
Ali DuVigneaud is faced with a different problem. Her family acquired a good-sized property in Anderson Valley some time ago and a portion of which is deemed plantable for vineyards. But, she steadfastly believes that Bee Hunter Wines’ original mission is the correct road to follow.
“We started out to find and develop our friend’s and neighbor’s properties and make our wines something special in the marketplace. Even though we’ve encountered some problems, I still believe this is the way to proceed,” she explained. “The concept worked quite nicely in the past and I hope it will again in the future.”
It seems implausible that a family named ‘DuVigneaud’ could not continue to be successful in the wine business. Their surname implies that the ancestors were heavily involved in the wine industry for centuries at fundamental work levels. Their persistence in the industry evolved into their cognomen which Andy and Ali DuVigneaud carry proudly.
Wineries like Bee Hunter Wines are a rarity these days and are sometimes lost in the glitter and attraction of California’s incredibly wine industry. That they continue to exist in times of hardship and complications is a marvel in itself.
It is with great satisfaction that we present this 2019 Anderson Valley Chardonnay from Bee Hunter Wines to our Platinum Wine Club and Garagiste Wine Club members. We trust that this wine, and the remarkable story behind it, will reward your tastebuds and make a valuable addition to your cellar. Enjoy!
Map of the area
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members
Thank you so much for your enthusiasm for fine wines! Just last weekend, we had the honor of crashing a dinner party at your Gold Medal Wine Club founders’ home! Together with the founders of Gold Medal Wine Club, David and Linda, their daughter Kelsey, and 20 friends, we pulled off quite a wine dinner. With 24 current releases and Andy’s affinity in the kitchen, it was sure to be a good time had by all!
We are glad you get a chance to try our Limited Edition Anderson Valley Chardonnay from 2019. This Chardonnay is one of our favorite finds. The grapes are grown with extra care by local legends, Joe Zicherman and Ginny Roemer. We hope you enjoy our dynamic expression of some of the best Chardonnay fruit that Anderson Valley has to offer.
This Best of Class award-winning Chardonnay was a hit at the party, as was our Best of Show winning Semillon and Gold awarded Pinot Noir, which you might see in future club shipments!
We truly love our craft and embrace any and all opportunities to connect with our fans, especially those as fantastic as David, Linda and Kelsey. We hope to see you all again soon, and until then, tune into our cooking shows on Bee Hunter Wine Instagram and Facebook Live. They are saved there for you to look at later and will eventually be shorter videos on YouTube. After doing them for about a year now, we are considering a cookbook to feature all the wines and beautiful pairings Andy’s managed to turn into delectable masterpieces. Stay tuned!
If you are planning a trip up to Mendocino, please let us know as we are along the highway 128 that takes you over the river, through the woods, and to the Pacific coast! You can either drive until you see the bright yellow Porsche Boxter parked outside our tasting room at the Live Oak Building, or navigate to us at 14251 Hwy 128, Boonville, CA 95415.
Wishing you a vivacious Spring and all our best to you and yours from Northern California wine country.
Ali & Andy DuVigneaud