Part of Wine By Appointment Chardonnay Winery Series
What's Their Story:
Ever wonder how the wine industry came about in California? A flamboyant self-proclaimed Hungarian Count from Budapest named Agoston Haraszth certainly helped jump-start the fledging industry by proclaiming, "California can produce as noble and generous a wine as any in Europe." Never shy about self-promotion, Mr. Haraszthy enthusiastically embraced his titles as "Father of California Viticulture" and the "Father of Winemaking in California."
Recognizing California's, particularly Northern California, potential for creating superior wine, Mr. Haraszth founded Buena Vista Winery in 1857. Unfortunately, Mr. Haraszth was unable to sustain the estate financially for long. In 1863, the Buena Vista Vinicultural Society provided financial support to continue the winery's operation. Buena Vista produced two million gallons of wine annually within two years of the society's formation.
Through the decades, Buena Vista has sustained triumphs and setbacks. Phylloxera and Prohibition devastated the winery by destroying the grapes with the Phylloxera louse and economic destruction with Prohibition. The winery has seen a succession of owners; some responsible for memorable wines, others pedestrian. In 2011, Jean-Charles Boisett of the Boisett Collection purchased the winery and the original grounds intending to restore the
winery to its glory days.
Why The Winery Made The Grade:
Anyone remotely interested in wine, particularly wine of the United States, owes themselves a visit to Buena Vista Winery. Jean-Charles Boisett has made major investments in both the physical restoration and raising the reputation of the wine. Brian Maloney, as Winemaker, and much revered David Ramey, as Consulting Winemaker, have managed to move the needle as far as the quality of Buena Vista wines. Their Reserve Chardonnay is rich, redolent of apples and lemons with a nice oak finish that will please those wine lovers of California Chardonnay.
In 2015, the full restoration and renovation of the winery was complete, which included the addition of the Historic Wine Tool Museum. Even guests who don't have the remotest interest in wine will find the twenty-minute light, sound and visual show, presenting the winemaking story through its tools fascinating.
As much fun as sitting in the winery's numerous patios quaffing wine, strolling the grounds comes in a close second or an even tie. History buffs will enjoy the barrel tasting and winery tour. The restored Champagne Cellar should be on guests' lists for a visit. Note: Buena Vista Winery was the first winery in California to produce sparkling wine. If bubbles are your thing, check out their Bubble Lounge.
Which Winery Visitor Type Would Love It :
All wine and non-wine drinkers should visit for the historical perspective of California. I've been asked lately to start rating, if you will, what wineries are must-goes. Buena Visita Winery would qualify.
Address: 18000 Old Winery Rd, Sonoma, CA 95476
Website: www.buensavistawinerycom Hours: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Daily
Tours/Tastings Offered: Buena Vista Winery offers many different types of tasting, from Standing Bar to Seated Private Tastings (I recommend the Seated Private Reserve Tasting). Check their website for the most current offerings, as they change frequently.
Costs run from $35.00 to $100.00 per person, depending on the type of tasting.
Check out the next Chardonnay blog in the series: Ceritas Wines
Or read all of the Chardonnay blogs in our new guide, Chardonnay Wineries of Sonoma and Napa.