It took the vision and expertise of our former and present head winemakers to make Legacy the truly unique, limited availability cuvée it is.
WILLIAM BONETTI, SONOMA-CUTRER 1981-1991
William Bonetti has dedicated over forty years to winemaking and his distinguished career covers much ground. Raised in northern Italy and educated at the venerable Conegliano School of Viticulture, Mr. Bonetti brought a traditional and formal winemaking background to America with him at the age of eighteen. In California’s Central Valley, Mr. Bonetti worked as a chemist with E. & J. Gallo and Cresta Blanca. Working as a winemaker at Charles Krug with Robert and Peter Mondavi, Mr. Bonetti developed methods to press grapes while cold, to transfer wine with inert gas, and to barrel ferment Chardonnay — the first such undertaking in America. From Krug, he was hired to design and operate the new Chateau Souverain facility, where he helped pioneer the production of fine wines in Sonoma County. Mr. Bonetti’s crowning achievement was the design and operation of the Sonoma-Cutrer winery. At Sonoma-Cutrer, beginning in 1981, he brought to bear his wealth of knowledge and experience to produce Chardonnay from five estate vineyards under three distinct labels. For ten years, he used grape chilling, sorting, whole cluster pressing, barrel fermentation and various oxygen reduction techniques to make Chardonnay wine exclusively.
TERRY ADAMS, SONOMA-CUTRER 1991 – 2010
Terry Adams became Director of Winemaking with the harvest of 1991. Prior to his appointment as Director, Terry had worked as Assistant Winemaker and Cellarmaster to William Bonetti at Sonoma-Cutrer since the inception of the winery in 1981. Before coming to Sonoma-Cutrer, Terry apprenticed under the direction of Mr. Bonetti at Chateau Souverain. From 1981 to 1991, Terry helped produce every bottle of Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay. During the same interval, he had a hand in the development of much of the “state of the art” equipment and processes at the winery. Terry was intricately involved in all of the Sonoma-Cutrer’s pioneering work with malo-lactic cultures, spontaneous fermentations, barrel toasting, bottling techniques and vineyard development. He also played a pivotal role in implementing Sonoma-Cutrer’s Grand Cru Program, overseeing essential projects from the crafting of the barrels in France from oak trees to bottling the first vintage of The Cutrer without fining or filtration. Terry’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to plant the first vines of Pinot Noir in the Cutrer Vineyard. Terry utilized his Grand Cru approach to winemaking to create a style of Pinot Noir that was the perfect second varietal offering to Sonoma-Cutrer’s portfolio. Over the years, Terry honed his own style and philosophy to winemaking. His goal was to always “make wines that exemplify the character of the vineyards, that are fresh and lively, yet at the same time focused, balanced and structured.”
MICHAEL “MICK” SCHROETER, SONOMA-CUTRER 2010 – PRESENT
Michael “Mick” Schroeter’s decorated and storied wine background made him superbly qualified to serve as only the third head winemaker in the history of Sonoma-Cutrer. Winemaking is often a trade passed down from generation to generation, and Mick Schroeter is no exception. Starting out on his own as an oenologist at Kaiser Stuhl winery in Australia, Mick wanted to blaze his own trail and had no intentions of following in his father and uncle’s footsteps at the Penfolds Winery. Then in 1982, as fate would have it, Penfolds bought Kaiser Stuhl and reunited Mick with the family in the business. Mick rose rapidly through the Penfolds system and had the privilege to be part of their red winemaking team, eventually working on Penfolds’ legendary Grange Hermitage, the benchmark of Aussie Shiraz. From there, Mick accepted an invitation from Geyser Peak Winery in California to take over as Vice President of Winemaking where he stayed for 17 years. It is his long track record of success and illustrious career in Australia and California, along with twice being named “Winemaker of the Year” at the London International Wine & Spirit Competition, that gave Mick the encompassing experience to take the reins at Sonoma-Cutrer. He considers it one of the industry’s true dream jobs and is honored to carry on the brand’s storied legacy.