Our Story

Ambassador James D. Zellerbach founded Hanzell Vineyards in 1953 with a vision to create wines that could compete on the world stage.  Named after his wife Hana, Hanzell sits at the southern toe of the Mayacamas mountain range overlooking the south-western end of Sonoma Valley and San Pablo Bay.  After extensive time spent in Burgundy, Zellerbach returned inspired and educated by the region’s wines and grapes—Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  He then planted these two varieties at a time when there were less than a few hundred acres of each planted in North America.  Since 1975, Hanzell has been solely owned by the de Brye family, who is dedicated to the preservation of tradition with a progressive and holistic approach which will ensure the sustainability for generations to come.


2017 – Chickens, sheep, pigs and our two Maremma livestock guardian dogs, Scout and Radley join the Hanzell family.

2016 – Work implementing Integrated Farming practices begins.

2014 – Jason Jardine hired as President and Director of Winemaking.

2009 – First vintage of Hanzell “Sebella” Chardonnay released.

2008 – Michael McNeill hired as Winemaker and Lynda Hanson hired as Associate Winemaker.

2003 – Construction on the cave and new winery begins.

2001 – 4 1/2 acre Ramos Vineyard planted with all chardonnay.

1999 – 4 acre Sessions Vineyard planted with pinot noir.

1991 – Ownership passes to Alexander de Brye.

1976 – 13 acre de Brye Vineyard planted with both chardonnay and pinot noir.

1975 – Ownership passes to Barbara de Brye. José Ramos hired as Vineyard Manager.

1973 – Bob Sessions hired as Winemaker.

1972 – 4 1/2 acre Day Vineyard planted to all chardonnay.

1965 – Ownership passes to Douglas and Mary Day.

1957 – First vintage of Hanzell Vineyards wines produced.

1956 – Brad Webb hired as first Winemaker & Heritage Winery completed.

1953 – First three acres of chardonnay and three acres of pinot noir planted.

1953 – Founded by James & Hana Zellerbach for whom the winery is named.