Janet was born and lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana until 1973, when she moved to Los Angeles to be a dancer/choreographer, and ended up becoming a Business Attorney. Living on the beach in Southern California, she missed the magnificent oak trees and lush greenery of Louisiana, and at the birth of her first child felt compelled to find a place where her family and kids could climb trees, hike in the beautiful terrain, and swim in the pond. She and her children, Nicholai and Haile, still enjoy these pleasures, but luckily Arbor Bench proved to be so much more — an outstanding vineyard which has only improved over the 31 years under the direction of Janet and Viticulturist Duff Bevill, with the planting of special clones of classic varietals perfectly suited to the soil, and the marketing of the grapes to premier wineries in the area.
The bumper crop of 2005 was an opportunity for Janet, along with winemaker Chris Markell, to finally produce her own wine, Arbor Bench’s gold medal-winning Estate-Grown Merlot, followed by the 2007 Reflections Meritage, another gold medal winner. She has continued to produce Arbor Bench Meritage, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon; every one has earned one or more medals.
Christopher Markell, Winemaker
Chris brings 36 years of winemaking experience to the Arbor Bench team. He has worked and consulted for prestigious wineries in California, France, Australia, Chile, and who knows where else. He has a gift for selecting the very best grapes, and the ability to bring forth the finest expression of a given varietal’s potential flavor and complexity. His focused working style, attention to detail, and passion for quality are balanced by a patience and willingness to share some of his extensive knowledge with the rest of us.
Duff Bevill, Viticulturist
Originally, Duff intended to specialize in fruit and nut production, but a summer job in Dry Creek Valley in 1973 transformed his career dreams. Working for a local vineyard management company, Duff became acquainted with many older farmers in Dry Creek Valley, who taught him old timers’ wisdom and self-reliance. “I was in my early twenties, and I would sit in Jim Guadagni’s cellar and drink his homemade wine out of shot glasses and jelly jars. It gave me a sense of history and an appreciation for what it means to be a grape grower in this valley.”
Widely recognized as one of Sonoma County’s most experienced vineyardists, Duff has been farming wine grapes in the area for over 40 years. Strong proponents of sustainable farming, Duff and his wife Nancy own and lease a total of 80 acres of their own vineyards in the Dry Creek and Russian River valleys, and Bevill Vineyard Management currently currently farms and manages 1,100 acres of wine grapes in Sonoma County. The Bevill family lives in the heart of Dry Creek Valley, surrounded by vineyards.