Accolades

Kind words and accolades for Sandar & Hem wines from media and respected wine journalists.

Press Mentions
Wine Reviews

Press Mentions


West Valley Wineries Shine at 2023 Sunset Wine Competition
The Mercury News, Laura Ness, June 21, 2023

“The 2023 Sunset Wine Competition brought gold to several local wineries… Sandar & Hem Wines scored gold for both their 2022 Bates Ranch Grenache Rosé (91  points) and 2021 Mountain Winery Vineyard Chardonnay 94  points).”

Laurie Love on Wine: A powerful yet racy chardonnay, opening wax seals & holiday gift packs December 2023
Lookout Santa Cruz December 15,2023

“My favorite wine this week is this stunning chardonnay from the skilled hands of Robert Bergstrom, winemaker at Sandar & Hem Wines.”
“It’s one of the best chardonnays from the Santa Cruz Mountains I have ever tasted. Trust me, you will love it.”

Shopping and Sipping at the Aptos Wine Wander: December 2023
Edible Monterey Bay December 12,2023

“Rob and Recha Bergstrom of Sandar & Hem were set up in the wine room at Cantine, where the turquoise leather couch and beautifully carved arm chair, made a perfect spot to enjoy the Bates Ranch Rosé of Grenache, filled with strawberries, guava and pure joy, and the 2021 Mountain Winery Chardonnay, with its whipped marshmallow core and delicate hint of apple strudel. The most impressive of the lineup was the corduroy textured, raspberry truffle-laden Deerheart Vineyard Pinot Noir, from a knoll on Skyline Boulevard that gets afternoon sun.”

R.H. Drexel’s Top 50 Wines of 2023: November 2023
Jeb Dunnuck November 22,2023

“2021 Sandar & Hem Chardonnay, Bald Mountain, Santa Cruz Mtns., CA
Apricots in winter. Brisk. A diligent loveliness.”

Full Belly Files: August 2023
Santa Barbara Independent August 9,2023
wines for the week: june 2023
Decanter June 15,2023
Sandar & Hem – Rob Bergstrom, Ep. 61
Sip, Sip Horray Podcast, Mary Orlin, May 27,2023
Women in Wine Day 2023: Recha Bergstrom

“Recha co-founded Sandar & Hem in 2018 with her husband Robert Bergstrom as winemaker to explore the centuries-old agricultural and winemaking heritage of the Santa Cruz Mountains through its historically important and most promising contemporary vineyards.”

South Bay Harvest ON Track to Yield Higher Quality lower Quantity Wine Grapes
The Mercury News, Laura Ness, August 14, 2022

“At Lago Lomita Vineyard in the Summit Road area, Robin and Mark Porter are seeing lots of color change. “Bud break was much earlier this year by two or three weeks,” Mark Porter says. “But we had several weeks of cold weather in late spring/early summer. In the end, veraison for us came at the same time as last year. …Their Nebbiolo is the poster child for veraison, showing all the colors possible in a single grape cluster. Most of it goes to Peter Bargetto at Soquel Vineyards, but this year, Robert Bergstrom of Sandar & Hem and Nicole Walsh of Ser are also getting in on the action. Porter says he expects to bring that fruit in mid-October.”

Santa Cruz Mountains: The Compelling 2018s & 2019s
Vinous.com, Antonio Galloni, May 19, 2022

“The Santa Cruz Mountains remains one of the most intriguing regions in the United States for the inquisitive oenophile. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and, more recently, Rhône varieties are rarely as vibrant and nuanced as they are here.”

Soif Showcases Local Food Artisans with Series of Pop-ups
Edible Monterey Bay, Laura Ness, June 3, 2022
Driving into the Santa Cruz Mountains
Please The Palate, Allison Levine, May 24, 2022

“2019 Sandar & Hem Wines Bruzzone Vineyard Chardonnay (12.7%)
Robert Bergstrom launched Sandar & Hem in 2018. “You can taste the translucence of the region,” he explained. With a doctorate in biochemistry, Bergstrom got his certificate from UC Davis and dove in deep. He named the winery after the Sandar region in Norway where his ancestors’ surname “Hem” is prominent. …The Bruzzone Vineyard in Scott’s Valley is four miles from the ocean with an early fog that burns off late in the morning. The wine is a pale-yellow color and has notes of citrus fruit and stony minerality. The wine is delicate but structured with shimmering acidity, and there is a soft touch of nuttiness on the finish.”

Wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains – 6th Grand Tasting
Grape Nutz, Ken Zinns, April 24, 2022

“Of the producers whose wines I tasted, those that poured particularly strong groups of wines included Alfaro, Big Basin, Mount Eden, Neely, Ridge, and Sandar & Hem.”

Sandar & Hem’s Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay Pouring at Grand Tasting
The Mercury News, Laura Ness, April 19, 2022
South Bay wineries bring home gold in competition
The Mercury News, Laura Ness, January 26, 2022

“A handful of South Bay wineries took top honors at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, which wrapped up on Jan. 14. …Sandar & Hem Wines was gold all the way, receiving a Best of Class in Packaging: Modern Illustrations for the label of the 2019 Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay from Bald Mountain Vineyard. They also scored gold for that wine, and for the 2019 Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay from Frances J. Vineyard and the 2019 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir from Mindego Ridge.”

Sandar & Hem: EXPLORING SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAIN CHARDS ON THE VARIETAL SHOW
The Sommelier Files, April 4, 2021
Sandar and Hem Hit a Homer with Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
GoodTimes.sc, Josie Cowden, November 20, 2021

“Sandar and Hem has listed nearly all vineyards where they get their grapes, which greatly helps us appreciate their dedication to seeking out unique vineyard sites. One of this local winery’s well-made wines is a 2019 Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay ($34), which they believe “captures the essence of the terroirs. …This outstanding white wine showcases the vigorous side of Chardonnay with “vibrant high-tone aromatics, including notes of lime peel, Asian pear and flint,” write Sandar and Hem founders (and husband and wife) Robert and Recha Bergstrom. It leaves “a refreshing spine of zingy acidity on the palate.”

Local Wines to be Thankful For
Edible Monterey Bay, Laura Ness, November 19, 2021

“2018 Sandar & Hem Chardonnay, Bald Mountain, Santa Cruz Mountains – This is a day at the ocean in Davenport, complete with visions of the famed shark fin rock formation, bottled and sealed for your immediate pleasure. Seashells, fresh briny oysters, wild fennel, chrysanthemums, lemon curd, the salt and lime encrusted rim of a margarita glass, a refreshing saline minerality, a splash of coconut, a hint of pine resin and a texture of corduroy, this wine creates a scene as intricate as a window box. Welcome to Rob Bergstrom’s take on the Bald Mountain fruit, which always shines through with its heart of salty oceanside, served up with a hint of white peach. It is so distinctly Bald Mountain, it could come from nowhere else on earth. That, my friend, is terroir, showing up like a unique thumbprint. “

Sandar & Hem: For the Love of Chardonnay
Edible Monterey Bay, Laura Ness, October 22, 2021
11 Expert-Approved Wines to Serve Along with Your Rosh Hashanah Dinner
Martha Stuart, Sarah Tracey, August 24, 2021

“I plan on starting my Rosh Hashanah evening with wine from a small family producer, from one of my favorite wine regions in the United States, the Santa Cruz Mountains. This rosé is drop dead gorgeous! Fresh acidity and an elegant, dry mouthfeel makes this a perfect wine to begin a meal; abundant aromas of dried flowers, tart red fruit, and savory herbaceous notes means it’s extremely versatile and goes perfectly with all of my spreads, snacks, and appetizers.”

Santa Cruz Mountains: Wines of Breathtaking Pedigree
Vinous.com, Antonio Galloni, September 09, 2020

“I tasted more truly exceptional wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains this year than at any time over the past decade. The 2018 Pinots are utterly breathtaking, while the 2017 and 2016 Bordeaux reds and 2016 Rhônes aren’t too far behind. I have long believed that the Santa Cruz Mountains is one of the world’s preeminent regions for fine whites and reds that speak of place. These new releases certainly make a statement.”

3 TINY BUT MIGHTY CALIFORNIA WINERIES TO STOCK UP ON NOW
It’s Not You, It’s Brie, Kirstin Jackson, August 4, 2020

Wine Reviews


2022 Bates Ranch Grenache Rosé | 91 Points Sunset Wine Competition
2021 Mountain Winery Vineyard Chardonnay | 94 Points Sunset Wine Competition
2020 Bates Ranch Grenache Rosé | 90 Points Wine Enthusiast
2020 Bruzzone Chardonnay | 95 Points Wine Enthusiast
2020 Bruzzone Chardonnay | 90 Points Vinous.com

“Citrus, orchard fruit and complicating earthy/savory undertones all come together in this super-distinctive SantaCruz Mountains Chardonnay” – Antonio Galloni

2020 Mountain Winery Chardonnay | 93 Points – Hidden Gem Wine Enthusiast
2020 Mountain Winery Chardonnay | 92 Points Vinous.com

“White flowers, crushed rocks, lime, graphite, white pepper and chalk all run through this striking, wonderfully inviting Chardonnay.” – Antonio Galloni

2019 Bates Ranch Grenache Rosé | 90 Points Vinous.com

“…airy Rose to drink now and over the next few years.” – Antonio Galloni

2019 Bates Ranch Grenache Rosé | 91 Points Decanter.com

“Don’t just pick the youngest rosé you can find … Stone fruit and melon aromas entice, then the palate is all wet stones, mandarin juice and yellow cherry flesh. Yum.” – Tina Gellie

2019 Franes J Vineyard Chardonnay | 94 Points Wine Enthusiast
2019 Franes J Vineyard Chardonnay | 91 Points Vinous.com

“The Frances J is nicely lifted and gracious in style.” – Antonio Galloni

2019 Le Boeuf Chardonnay | 92 Points Wine Enthusiast
2019 Le Boeuf Chardonnay | 91 Points Vinous.com

“The 2019 Chardonnay Le Boeuf Chardonnay is distinguished in this range by its intensely floral, Riesling-like inflections.” – Antonio Galloni

2019 Bald Mountain Chardonnay | 95 Points Wine Enthusiast
2019 Bald Mountain Chardonnay | 92 Points Vinous.com

“Lemon confit, tangerine oil, sage, mint and dried flowers lend notable complexity throughout.” – Antonio Galloni

2019 Bruzzone Chardonnay | 95 Points Wine Enthusiast
2019 Bruzzone Chardonnay | 90 Points Vinous.com

“…white flowers, chalk, mint and white pepper all run through this steely, taut Chardonnay.” – Antonio Galloni

2019 Mindego Ridge Chardonnay | 94 Points Wine Enthusiast
2019 Mindego Ridge Chardonnay | 93 Points Vinous.com

“The 2019 Chardonnay Mindego Ridge is gorgeous. The bouquet alone is so alluring.” – Antonio Galloni

2019 Mindego Ridge Pinot Noir | 95 Points – Editor’s Choice Wine Enthusiast
2019 Mindego Ridge Pinot Noir | 90 Points Vinous.com

“…a very pretty wine that shows the more restrained sitde of this site.” – Antonio Galloni

2018 Bruzzone Chardonnay | 94 Points – Editor’s Choice Wine Enthusiast

“Clean lines of chamomile, freshly grated yuzu zest and light chalk show on the very precise and chiseled nose” and “chalky texture that surrounds white-peach and tart orange flavors.” – Matt Kettman

2018 Mindego Ridge Chardonnay | 94 Points Wine Enthusiast

“Pristine aromas of chalk, lime blossom, yuzu sorbet and spearmint” and a “palate framed by a chalky tension and loaded with crushed oyster-shell flvors as well as underripe apricot, nectarine, and lemon rind”. – Matt Kettman

2018 Mindego Ridge Chardonnay | 93 Points Vinous.com

“The 2018 Chardonnay Mindego Ridge is a wine of body and texture. There is plenty of the energy that distinguishes all of the Sandar & Hem wines”. – Antonio Galloni

2018 Bates Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon | 92 Points Wine Enthusiast
2018 Mindego Ridge Pinot Noir | 93 Points Vinous.com

“A burst of sweet red cherry fruit, blood orange, mint and rose petal is immediately captivating. Medium in body, translucent, and wonderfully deep, the 2018 is positively stellar. Savory accents from the whole clusters and a touch of new oak frame the finish. The 2018 is breathtakingly beautiful. This is an impressive debut.” – Antonio Galloni