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History of the Besson Family

A Century of Down to Earth Family Roots

From Vine to Wine, An Immigrant that Started a Legacy 

One could only imagine in the early 1900's what an immigrants journey to America was like.  This journey would lead a Frenchman, Jean Auguste Besson to the shores of San Francisco, CA where he would bury his life savings at Golden Gate park and travel south in search of property.  Weeks later, destiny would guide him to a town by the name of Gilroy, population 2,800.  Little did he know then that the land he would settle on would end up being in the family for five generations.  With warm summer days and coastal fog settling on the hills in the evening, the land and climate served the family well and provided all that was needed to survive and thrive.  Ample acres for livestock, groves of fruit and olive trees, row crops, and yes, acres of vineyards.  Some of the oldest vineyards in Santa Clara County today.  Grenache planted in 1910, Zinfandel planted in 1922, and Mission Vines planted in the late 1800s all gnarly and robust.  During prohibition, it wasn't an uncommon occurrence that grappa was made in the cellar of the original home that remains on the property today. Bottles can still be unearthed from the early 1900s. 


With farming deeply rooted in the family's history, it was no surprise that son George Besson Sr. and grandson George Besson Jr. would continue to work the land, the focus on the vineyards.  Planting and grafting new varietals, tending, harvesting, and selling grapes that have contributed to some award winning wines. These wineries include, but not limited to, David Bruce, Birichino, Bonny Doon, Calera, I. Brand, Orin Swift, and our next door neighbor, Sarah's Vineyard, 


For the first time in the family's history, Besson Family Vineyard is bottling under the family name.  With a petite boutique emphasis, focus will remain on the carefully hand tended vines that translate into quality wines.  Open only one weekend a month (weather permitting) and BFF special wine club events and release parties, 100 years later, the legacy can now be shared with you.  

From vine to wine, nothing pretentious about our wines, simply down to earth. 

 Jean Auguste Besson 1925, 

The Immigrant

A French Immigrant, Jean Auguste Besson wanted a better life in America.  A local farmer and shoe salesman, Besson quite possibly never could have imagined the legacy he would leave behind.  Five generations later, the family grows stronger roots and is proud of being Besson. Pictured from L to R, son Joffree Besson, Jean Auguste Besson, wife Marie, and son George Besson on the home property in Gilroy, CA.

George Besson Sr., The Patriarch 

Born on the property,  George Besson Sr. was one of three children. His earliest recollections were that the ranch supplied the family with everything it needed.  Fruit off the fruit trees, milk from the cow, homemade butter and cheese, vegetables out of the garden, and grapes for the wine.  It's no wonder that the Besson family appreciates the value of hard work , living off the land, and  the historical significance of all that have lived on it. 

George Besson Jr. & wife Martha, The Farmer & Viticulturist 

The Name George so aptly means Farmer of the Land.  With his faithful confidant wife Martha by his side, George Besson Jr. has been tending the Vineyards for over four decades.  Well respected in the local wine industry, Besson is known for his meticulous care of each varietal and his consistency and uncompromising quality year after year.  When asked about farming, Besson says, "It's in my blood. I'd have it no other way."

Denise Besson & James Fahey, 

The Next Stage of Business

This power couple has envisioned and initiated an entirely new direction for Besson Family Vineyards.  A genuine interest in producing quality wines takes precedence with the petite boutique winery.  Coupling that with a community focus and vine to wine experience, they invite you for an intimate tasting experience where wine tasting makes you feel like family. 

Michael Sr.

The Keeper of the Vines

Because it's a family affair, Besson Family Vineyards is proud to have Michael as their full time foreman for over 25 years.  His knowledge of the vines at all stages in the year combined with hand tended care and quality control, there's no wonder BFV's grapes are so well revered in the local wine industry.

Accompanying Michael on the tractor is his loyal companion Nena.   

The Vineyards, 

If these vines could talk....

With two properties, eight different varietals, and  thousands of vines, if only these vines could talk, they would have plenty of stories to tell.  Whether it's an early unexpected frost, insects that attack the root systems, extreme weather changes at the most inopportune time, or simply a low yield year, these vines have out lived most of us and continue to come back fighting every year.

Winery Cat, Wyatt

RIP 2006 - 2024

Winery Wyatt crossed over the rainbow bridge on March 6, 2024. We miss him dearly. 

“The Besson family has a long history of growing the best grapes in Santa Clara county so they already have the basis for great wines. When you work with great growers like George Besson and his family, the resulting wine is almost made in the vineyard. I’m proud to have worked with George, Denise, & James in showcasing the fruit with their own line of wines.” – Pedro Vargas, Vino Vargas

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