Sidle to either side of the bar window at Besson Family’s mini-barn tasting room, and a great view awaits. For those who are inside looking out, the window frames 20 acres of old vines that meander down to Uvas Creek.

Those on the outside looking in will see a pool table, a cozy seating area with a woodstove and reclaimed barnwood paneling. Picking bins, stenciled with names of local farming legends, have been integrated into the walls. To the back stands another bar, above which are displayed bottles from the many wineries that have purchased Besson fruit over the years: Birichino, Sarah’s Vineyard, Calera.

Besson now has its own label, Besson Family Vineyards—started in 2017 as a way to honor the family’s farming way of life, and to establish a new tradition.

After decades of selling grapes to others, Denise Besson, who represents the fourth generation of her family to be in the business, decided to make wine with her family’s name on it.

“We wanted to share this special place, and these beautiful old vines, with others,” Besson says, gesturing towards the old vine grenache.

Under the Besson Family label, which will produce about 500 cases annually, there are a rosé of syrah, chardonnay, syrah and cabernet sauvignon. Almost all of it is estate grown, and it is all made by Pedro Vargas, a UC Davis graduate whose winery, Vino Vargas, is in San Miguel.

Besson is pleased to be carrying on her family’s legacy on their 50-acre parcel in the Santa Clara Valley. Her great-grandfather, Jean Auguste Besson, a French immigrant who came to Gilroy in 1925, purchased farmland with vines that exist to this day, including grenache planted in 1910, old vine zin planted in 1922 and Mission vines planted in the late 1800s. The 15 acres of grenache are among the oldest in Santa Clara County.

“We wanted to do this for the love of the vines, to establish a legacy,” Besson said. “I feel such an enormous sense of gratification. This is very special for us.”

For now, Besson Family Vineyards is open only by appointment, and for special wine club events, which are held five or six times a year. For information, visit

Besson Family Vineyard
3575 Hecker Pass Road, Gilroy