FROM GRAPE TO GLASS
The Early Years: The Blanchard Boys
Mark and James Blanchard, two brothers deeply connected by their shared interests, follow the tradition of two Blanchard brothers that can be traced back to at least the last four generations in the family. Only separated by two years in age, they played the same sports, had the same interests, and were close growing up. In fact, they ran so closely as children that everyone referred to them simply as the Blanchard Boys. As they graduated high school, James joined the United States Air Force, and Mark began attending classes at a liberal arts college in Chicago.
The Blanchard Boys: A Wine Awakening
During Mark’s studies in the Chicago area, he began a job as a stock boy at a local specialty liquor store. Quickly, his interest in the culture of wine began to grow, and after graduation he became the manager and wine buyer for the location. Mark’s fortuitous job as a stock boy at a specialty liquor store in Chicago ignited his passion for wine, while James, stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, explored the Central Coast wine region firsthand, tasting world class wines from the California Coast. James would fly his helicopter
A Culmination of Expertise: Visions Converge
Over the next six years, Mark worked for various wineries in both Napa and Sonoma County, eventually settling down in the town of Healdsburg in the Russian River Valley. James moved several times with the Air Force, spending significant time in Florida and Colorado, but continued to visit Mark to expand their wine knowledge together. All the while, they both dreamed of someday making and selling their own wine. During one of James’ visits to Sonoma County, while relaxing for the evening over a glass of wine, James turned to Mark and said the right time was now. In that transformative moment, Blanchard Family Wines was born.
Inception: Birth of Blanchard Family Wines
Early in the evolution of Blanchard Family Wines, the brothers were fortunate to cross paths with Jene Chapanar, a veteran winemaker and friend to many in the Sonoma wine making community. The brothers continue to apply a simple but classic philosophy to wine making: allow the vineyard, varietal and vintage to express their individual characteristics while applying gentle wine making and guidance along the way. Blanchard Family Wines is the story of how wine can bring people together, build bridges and ignite passions that make dreams come true. This boutique winery expresses the vision of two brothers and the uniting qualities of great wine shared among friends and family.
Family Roots and Traditions: Symbolism in Every Sip
Blanchard Family Wines’ philosophy runs deep in their familial heritage. The company’s logo, a tribute to the family tradition, bears two interlinking Bs representing the unity of the Blanchard brothers. This emblem not only honors James and Mark but extends to the next generation, James’ sons, carrying the legacy forward. The inclusion of a feminine form in the logo pays homage to the indispensable role of mothers in shaping the generations of Blanchard Boys.
Distinction through Craftsmanship: The Jene Chapanar Influence
At a pivotal point in their winemaking journey, the Blanchard brothers were fortunate to encounter Jene Chapanar, a seasoned winemaker revered within the Sonoma wine community. Under Jene’s guidance, Blanchard Family Wines masterfully selects prime fruit, allowing the vineyard, varietal, and vintage to express their unique qualities. The result is a portfolio of wines that embody the utmost respect and passion for Sonoma County’s remarkable vineyard sites and varietals.
Expanding Boundaries: Colorado’s Enduring Call
After spending nearly 15 years of his military career in Colorado, James realized he never wanted to leave. Anchored by family and roots, James sought to expand the horizons of Blanchard Family Wines, leveraging his involvement in Denver’s vibrant food, beverage, and philanthropic scene. Recognizing the growing demand for a wine country experience in the Mile High City, we made the decision to expand the winery to Colorado. After an extensive search, we discovered the perfect location at the lively Dairy Block, marking a new chapter in the winery’s unfolding story.
Part of Colorado’s Enduring Wine Industry
As Blanchard Family Wines expands into Colorado, James has joined forces with CAVE (Colorado Association for Viticulture & Enology). Our Colorado tasting rooms celebrate local artisanal wine producers, reflecting our commitment to supporting the state’s wine industry. With successful openings in Denver, Golden, and Fort Collins, we’re proudly extending our reach throughout Colorado. Meanwhile, our California operations are targeting international expansion.
HEAR FROM A BLANCHARD BROTHER
Blanchard Family Wines specializes in limited edition, artisanal wines, sourced from premier Sonoma Valley vineyards. We highlight the renowned appellations of Russian River, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valley, with most wines being 100% varietal or single-vineyard. Family traditions permeate our brand, influencing everything from our logo to product names.
Our logo, designed by the founders’ father, Steve, symbolizes family unity. The interlinked Bs represent the Blanchard brothers’ bond, extending from James and Mark to James’ sons, Jackson and Cash (namesakes for two wines). The outer feminine-shaped B honors the mother’s influence in shaping the Blanchard lineage.
In Blanchard Family Wines’ early days, we were lucky to meet Jene Chapanar, a respected Sonoma winemaking veteran. Under Jene’s guidance, we source premium fruits and follow a simple, traditional winemaking philosophy: let the vineyard, varietal, and vintage shine through gentle intervention. As a craftsman, Jene’s approach embodies our respect and passion for Sonoma County’s diverse vineyards. Under Jene’s mentorship, Mark Blanchard adapts to nature’s yearly variations to craft distinctive wines. As we expand to Colorado, we uphold our ‘less is more’ approach, with winemaking being a lesson in restraint. We invite you to relish our wines and join the Blanchard Family.