Bonny Doon Vineyard began with the attempt to replicate Burgundy in California, however Randall Grahm realised early on that he would have far more success creating more distinctive and original wines working with Rhône varieties in the Central Coast of California. The warm, Mediterranean climate, creates successful blended wines.
In 1986 Bonny Doon Vineyard released the inaugural vintage (1984) of Le Cigare Volant, an homage to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and this continues as the winery’s flagship/starship brand.
Since then, Bonny Doon Vineyard has enjoyed a long history of innovation – the first to truly popularize Rhône grapes in California, to successfully work with cryo-extraction for sundry “Vins de Glacière, the first to utilize microbullage in California, the first to popularize screwcaps for premium wines, and, quite significantly, the first to embrace true transparency in labeling with its ingredient labeling initiative.
Bonny Doon Vineyard grew and grew with some incredibly popular brands (Big House, Cardinal Zin and Pacific Rim) until it became the 28th largest winery in the United States. Randall came to the realisation, that he had found that the company had diverged to a great extent from his original intention of producing soulful, distinctive and original wines. With this in mind, he sold off the larger brands (Big House and Cardinal Zin) in 2006 and Pacific Rim in 2010.