At the turn of the century, the Bonneau family left the fields they farmed south of Bordeaux and found their way to the land of hope and prosperity in San Francisco. A generation later, August and his wife Catherine were settled into rural life on a 70 acre parcel of farmland they’d acquired just south of the old mission settlement town of Sonoma.
The family’s hard-earned farming heritage and innate ingenuity allowed them to adapt to a changing economic climate in their new homeland, weathering Prohibition and the depression era by working the land out back of their farm house, many of the acres serving as pasture land for cattle. At the same time, intent on finding opportunity wherever they could, the couple began selling fuel, food and refreshments from a stand they built alongside the main crossroads leading to town.
The Bonneau family still remembers Catherine Bonneau’s wistful dream of returning to the family’s French roots as grape growers.
Her daughter Yvonne was destined to become a pioneer grower in the Los Carneros region, three decades later setting about planting Chardonnay on 30 acres of the family’s land where some had said it could not be grown.
Harvests from the Catherine Bonneau vineyard were both plentiful and of high quality, enough so that the fruit was eagerly snapped up by well-known sparkling wine houses such as Chandon, Artesa, and Gloria Ferrer.
Today, the dream continues. Catherine’s grandson John Bambury holds the reigns of the operation, where his proven business acumen and intent focus on quality builds on the Bonneau family’s proud heritage as growers. Now, as both grower and chief winemaker, John has been eagerly joined by the next and newest generation of hands-on family members.