Rosé vs. Seltzer: Let the Summer Games Begin!

‘Rosé Season’ is upon us again and at Benson we’re watching a few trends: 1) the popularity of the rosé category remains unflagging with wine lovers but, 2) seltzer and other adult beverages are taking a share of the consumer’s wallet.

Writers: if you’re challenged to find new and interesting angles, Benson’s client roster has several Rosé options to offer: from stories on unique packaging, to attention grabbing marketing campaigns, as well as some off the beaten path vineyard locales and wine styles.

Stylish Every Day

Bread & Butter California Rosé – SRP $16 – Choosing a delicious wine, especially rosé, should be an easy choice to make. Don’t overthink it and grab this bottle from the fastest growing wine brand in the $12-$15 category – Bread & Butter. Leave the complexity to the winemaking team at Bread & Butter and simply enjoy the layered flavors of strawberry and melon and a balanced acidity that makes this pink wonder such a versatile wine.

Hahn California Rosé – SRP $15 – This rosé comes from pinot noir grapes grown on the Arroyo Seco appellation in Monterey County where it was sustainably grown on a SIP-certified vineyard. The elegant beauty is pale salmon in color with soft aromas of red fruits, watermelon and grapefruit. This version is as accessible on the palate as it is on the wallet!

Say ‘Oui’ to Côtes de Provence

Barton & Guestier Côtes de Provence Tourmaline Rosé – SRP $20 – A stylish new addition to the Provence rosé category, the punt at the bottom of this bottle is designed to resemble the famous pink gemstone after which this wine is named. Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault combine to provide a true-to-type Provençal experience in the bottle. Oui oui!

Can Do!

Tangent Edna Valley Rosé (in 375ml can) – SRP $6-8/375ml – Pack this gorgeous can of rosé from California’s Edna Valley for your next excursion and you’ll be the host or hostess with the most-est. Easy to chill, easy to open, and definitely easy to enjoy! But always enjoy this one responsibly! Just a humble reminder that 375ml cans are equivalent to half a standard bottle; overindulging is always a ‘can don’t.’

Experience North Carolina Hospitality

Biltmore Reserve Rosé, North Carolina – SRP $24 – Drink up – Vanderbilt style! Yes, North Carolina can produce some great wines. Grapes for this wine are grown on the eponymous estate in Asheville, where George Vanderbilt once hosted some of the best parties and provided top-notch hospitality. Ask us to put you in touch with winemaker Sharon Fenchak to see how she does it.

Pinot’s Other Favorite Expression

Baileyana Edna Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir – SRP $24 – Just five miles from the Pacific Ocean, the Edna Valley produces some of the freshest rosé wines due to its cool climate and extended growing season. This rosé produced on a SIP-certified vineyard is bursting with watermelon and strawberry aromas making it perfect year-round. Did we mention its gorgeous photo-ready bottle? Hello, wedding season!

Balletto Russian River Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir – SRP $20 – Made with estate-grown grapes from Russian River Valley, the Balletto Rosé of Pinot Noir is a testament to growing rosé ‘with intention,’ says winemaker Anthony Beckman. Anthony and owner John Balletto grow the pinot noir grapes for this rosé with the express use for their Rosé of Pinot Noir.

POP! Rosé Sparkles, Too!

Graham Beck Brut Rosé NV – SRP $20 – Hailing from South Africa’s Western Cape, this Méthode Cap Classique Brut Rosé embodies style and elegance meant to be enjoyed during moments that matter. American wine lovers have really fallen in love with this wine.

Veuve du Vernay Ice Rosé – SRP $15 – Go ahead, you know you want to add a bit of ice. This delightful sparkler is MADE to be enjoyed over ice. Veuve du Vernay’s Ice Rosé is slightly sweet, but not too sweet with floral aromas. It’s the easiest ‘cocktail’ ever for serving poolside or by the beach, so grab a wide-brimmed hat, some glasses and pour this during your next getaway or staycation.

Balletto Brut Rosé 2015 – SRP $42 – This sparkling Brut Rosé comes from Balletto Vineyards, one of the few family-owned estate wineries in the Russian River Valley wine region of Sonoma County. It’s delicate, pretty, and delicious – the soft, coral-hued color sets the stage, and the tiny, persistent bubbles confirm that this is a serious sparkler. The aromas are integrated and full with a dollop of cherry-strawberry that highlights the core mineral focus. Perfect for creating that coral focused Instagram page.

Sauvignon Blanc: Through the Eyes of Winemakers

Sauvignon Blanc is having a moment.

In July 2020, Nielsen reported it was the fastest growing wine type with a 38 percent increase in sales. Even before the pandemic, volume was up 8.9 percent in 2019. This can be attributed to a variety of factors like how the grape grows very well in multiple regions, its accessibility around the world, and its range of price points for buyers.

Benson’s press webinar was held April 22, 2021. To review materials, view this Dropbox link.  Or, you can view the webinar on YouTube here.

Take it from these winemakers who have mastered the grape’s potential and consistently create standout bottles.

Anthony Beckman, Balletto Vineyards 

Working with 850 acres of estate vineyards at Balletto Vineyards, Anthony Beckman is able to create unique wines specific to the Russian River Valley area. Working there since 2007, he has contributed to much of the vineyard’s success and continues to do so with his approach to winemaking. His philosophy is to let the vineyards authentically speak through the wines to make the statement, “this wine can only be grown and made here.”  

Let the vineyard speak to you through this Sauvignon Blanc: Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County, California – SRP $20 

Elunda Basson

Elunda Basson, Steenberg Vineyards 

An accomplished winemaker and respected specialist in South Africa with more than 20 years of experience, Elunda Basson took her talent to Steenberg Vineyards as Cellarmaster in 2019. The vineyard produces some of the best Sauvignon Blanc wines in the country due to its location in the Constantia area near the ocean and its storied winemaking history dating back to 1682. Under Elunda’s expertise, the wines exhibit freshness, elegance, and finesse.  

Enjoy this unique twist on Sauvignon Blanc: Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, Constantia, South Africa – SRP $18 

Juan Jo VerdinaJuan Jo Verdina, Hahn Family Wines 

Joining Hahn Family Wines in 2002 as part of the cellar team and working toward becoming Winemaker, Juan Jo Verdina knows the wine production of the estate inside and out. He heads the Hahn and Boneshaker brands with Hahn’s portfolio including six varietals and Boneshaker’s focusing on a robust Lodi Zinfandel from 40-year-old vines. The Hahn Winery Selection Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from a vineyard in Monterey County that experienced a mild vintage resulting in a naturally balanced acidity.  

Taste the Hahn experience with its Sauvignon Banc: Hahn Winery Selection Sauvignon Blanc, Monterey, California​​ – SRP $32 

Rob Takigawa, Tangent Wines  

With 20 years of experience working with Tangent, Rob Takigawa worked his way up starting as a Tank Room Manager, then Assistant winemaker, Winemaker and now, Director of Winemaking. He has grown further knowledge with each passing vintage, learning how to capture Edna Valley’s uniqueness to the rest of California’s growing regions. The Sauvignon Blanc is harvested at different levels to achieve the ideal finish and sourced from a vineyard with a Sustainability in Practice Vineyard Certification. 

Try a uniquely Edna Valley Sauvignon Blanc: Tangent Sauvignon Blanc, Edna Valley, California​ – SRP $17 


Linda Trotta, North Coast Winemaker, WX Brands

With 30+ years in the industry, Linda has worked harvests around the world including Italy, South Africa and Chile. One thing she is most proud of in her career is that in her leadership role(s), she mentored and developed talent who have gone on to make their own marks of excellence in winemaking and viticulture. Her Bread & Butter Sauvignon Blanc shines with bright aromas of lemon zest and a hint of tropical fruit. The Silver Spur Lake County Sauvignon Blanc is made from sustainably grown Sauvignon Musque Clone, known for its intensity and array of aromas and notes associated with expressive and fine Sauvignon Blanc.

Silver Spur Lake County Sauvignon Blanc 2019, SRP $18

Bread & Butter Sauvignon Blanc 2019, SRP $16.99 Online shop


Celebrating the Women Behind Wine

With each glass selected, we have the opportunity to champion women and the other underrepresented winemakers in our communities.

To celebrate Women’s History Month,  today we spotlighted four spirited women from coveted regions across the U.S. as well as South Africa in a virtual tasting for press. (For some additional background, these stories in Uproxx and News-Press feature women in wine including our clients described below.)

Sharon Fenchak

Sharon Fenchak, Winemaker for Biltmore Wines

Sharon joined the team at Biltmore Wines (you’ll recognize that name from the Biltmore® Estate in Asheville, NC) in 1999 and is Head Winemaker as of 2018. She oversees wine production not only from Biltmore’s estate vineyards in North Carolina, but also with fruit sourced from key growers and partners in prime wine appellations on the west coast as well. In this way, she is crafting a storied wine portfolio for Biltmore to continue the legacy of hospitality set by George Vanderbilt himself. Share in some of this storied Vanderbilt hospitality by enjoying a Biltmore wine with your friends and family! Two wines to try:

Biltmore Reserve Chardonnay North Carolina 2018, SRP $24

Biltmore Estate American Cabernet Sauvignon 2019, SRP $22

Megan McCullough

Megan McCollough, Winemaker for Smith & Hook, of Hahn Family Wines

Megan McCollough, Winemaker for Smith & Hook, leads Hahn Family Wines’ Central Coast red wines that pay homage to the Hahn family’s first Monterey County properties, known today as the Smith Vineyard and Hook Vineyard. With nearly a decade of winemaking experiences under her belt, McCollough is setting an example for other young women winemakers in California. Try some of her latest reds:

Smith & Hook Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, SRP $25

Smith & Hook Proprietary Red Blend 2017, SRP $25

Smith & Hook Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, SRP $45


Linda Trotta, North Coast Winemaker, WX Brands

Linda Trotta –  With 30+ years in the industry, Linda has worked harvests around the world including Italy, South Africa and Chile. One thing she is most proud of in her career is that in her leadership role(s), she mentored and developed talent who have gone on to make their own marks of excellence in winemaking and viticulture.  In her role with WX Brands, she she has received numerous accolades for her wines, including a Wine Spectator Top 100 selection for her 2018 Reata Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. We recommend:

Reata Sonoma County Chardonnay and Three County Pinot Noir ($25)

Silver Spur Lake County Sauvignon Blanc 2019 ($18)

Silver Spur Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 ($28)

Elunda Basson

Elunda Basson, Winemaker for Steenberg Vineyards

Steenberg Cellarmaster Elunda Basson is an accomplished winemaker and respected specialist of her craft. She joined South Africa’s Steenberg Vineyards in June 2019 at the pinnacle of an illustrious career spanning more than two decades making still and sparkling wines for leaders in the industry. Located in South Africa’s storied Constantia wine region, Steenberg Vineyards can also boast of being the oldest registered farm in the country, dating to 1682. Today the property thrives under Elunda’s expertise, producing some of the best Sauvignon Blanc wines in the country. Steenberg’s distinctive terroir results in wines exhibiting freshness, elegance and finesse. Alongside Sauvignon Blanc, the vineyards are home to Bordeaux varietals and one of the few investments in Nebbiolo in the Cape area.

Check out this truly unique take on Sauvignon Blanc — traditional method sparkling twist on everyone’s favorite varietal!

NV Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc ($18)

Contact Alex Parker,, to connect with these women and their wines.

Among many other outlets, FirstLeaf (not a client of Benson) featured a blog post in March on women re-imagining the industry.

The Modern Wine Rack

The Modern Wine Rack

We’ve assembled our criteria for each coveted spot in a six-bottle wine rack. So here’s our take on “the modern wine rack.”

Sparkling Wines Shared at Other Iconic Celebrations
Save a space for some bubbly, because there will always be something to celebrate – even during Shelter in Place.

Hospitality Wine
Another space in this rack needs to be home to your ‘house wine’. You never know when you might be having someone to dinner, or even when that next virtual happy hour is.

It’s Always Rosé Season
No longer a fleeting style only seen and enjoyed during a few months of the year, rosé wine should now command a permanent space in your collection. We recommend an easy-going and approachable rosé.

Put Your Money Where Your Values Are
What really resonates with you about a wine is its story, not just its age ability. When looking at what to buy, we recommend stocking up on wines that are giving back to their communities or are produced in a way that aligns with your own values. There are also ways to support the #BLM movement by stocking up on wines from black owned wineries or winemakers.

Travel Through the Power of Your Glass
Everyone needs an escape now and then and if we can’t do it physically, do it through a wine glass. Stock up on wines from a place you’ve been to and truly love, or even some place you haven’t been, but have always wanted to explore.

Whatever Wine You Are Curious to Learn More About
There’s always something new to learn about wine, but you can also always go more in depth with the familiar. So, keep a slot in your wine rack dedicated to wines that represent something you want to learn more about.

Let us know if you need help finding a wine in any of these categories. Our clients have an array of wine that is sure to hit the spot! Contact to connect with wines to fill your rack.