Djuna Benjamin is a veritable powerhouse and an integral part of team Vara. Born and raised in Albuquerque’s South Valley, she left home for Portland, OR where she received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Lewis & Clark College. During her sophomore year, she took the opportunity to study abroad in Alsace, France. It was there that she was first introduced to truly outstanding wines, which sparked a lifelong passion for the ephemeral, beautiful relationship between two of life’s greatest pleasures: food and wine. After college whilst living in Portland, she further explored this interest and started cutting her teeth as a skilled craft bartender in high-end restaurants.
After spending close to a decade in Oregon, she could no longer ignore her longing for the desert. So, like a true New Mexican, she bid farewell to the rain and returned home to Albuquerque in 2019. She stumbled across Vara in July of 2019 and started in the tasting room as a server. Her passion and work ethic were evident, and she quickly rose through the ranks in a few short months. She transitioned to a full-time production assistant in February 2020 and took over as production manager in January 2021. Djuna now oversees the production of all our spirits and wines, and works closely with our winemakers (Bob, Louisa, and Laurent) and our distiller (Scott) to create our outstanding product lineup. It’s difficult for her to say what her favorite part of the job is: while she loves the process of development and learning the science behind product creation, it is the process of incorporating all the small details and operations and watching it all transform into one of our unique, delicious wines or spirits that brings her the most joy and satisfaction.
In her free time, Djuna enjoys going on hikes with her dog, Morty, writing songs on her guitar, cooking bountiful meals for her friends and family, and putting glitter on everything. Djuna is proud to be a member of Team Vara and is looking forward to a long future with the company.