May 16, 2014

Sonoma: Buena Vista Winery; things to do

Wine Country

The Count pours for wine tasting at Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma, California
Buena Vista  Winery  18000 Old Winery Rd., (800) 926-1266, (707) 938-1266.  Tasting daily 10-5, $15 fee; tours $20-$35. 

Founded in 1857, this is California's first commercial winery.  Visitors park on the outskirts, and  after a short, pleasant walk in can taste wines in the welcoming old Press House or at an outside bar (don't miss sampling the nutty cream sherry, available only at the winery).  I recommend making reservations for a tour with The Count.  You’ll get a chance to see the newly reopened Champagne Cellars building--so called because the first m├ęthode champenoise in California was made in these deliciously cool caves in 1862 (they are always 57 degrees)--that holds California’s original wine cave.  You’ll also learn the winery’s interesting history from The Count, a talented storyteller.  Other tours include a barrel tasting, and a blending seminar lets you leave with your own unique blend and label.
 outdoorr wine tasting at Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma, California

After tasting, select a favorite bottle to purchase and enjoy with a picnic at one of the tables shaded by maple trees.  You will be serenaded by tiny Arroyo Seco brook, which is Spanish for “dry creek” even though it runs all year.  Currently my favorites are a buttery-smooth 2012 Private Reserve Selection Chardonnay with all the bells and whistle,s and a delicious, earthy 2011Bela’s Selection Pinot Noir.  The winery shop sells a few picnic supplies as well as chilled non-alcoholic grape juice.  With 24 hours advance reservation, you can order up a pre-packed picnic hamper.  It is an interesting tidbit to know that current owner, Jean-Charles Boisset, is married to Gina Gallo; yes, that Gallo. 

More things to do in Sonoma.

More things to do in the Wine Country.

More ideas for exploring Northern California.

images and video ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

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  1. I love that winery, such a cool place, hope you can share it with us for Travel Photo Mondays

  2. What's not to love about Napa Valley and the Sonoma region? Beautiful country.

  3. We have two gorgeous grandkids that we visit each summer in California. We've been to quite a few wineries and this one looks so very interesting. Thanks for sharing your expertise on wine choices.

  4. I am familiar with the winery, lovely post! I am traveling to Napa this weekend, but will stop in Sonoma next time!

  5. Haven't been to this winery. Adding it to my bucket list!

  6. Looks like fun! I'm guessing it's hard not to enjoy a wine tasting :)

    1. That is true, even when you decide you don't care for the wine--which isn't the case here!

  7. A picnic with a delicious wine by a burbling brook...What could be more perfect?

  8. A tour with the Count and a wine cave! This has to be on my list for a visit to Sonoma.

  9. You had me at " buttery-smooth 2012 Private Reserve Selection Chardonnay".

  10. "current married to Gina Gallo; yes, that Gallo." Goodness, how ironic!

    Not likely I'll get to Sonoma anytime soon (given my new home here in Ecuador), but nonetheless, the thought of sipping a bit of chardonnay under the shade of maple trees, beside a gurgling brook - ah yes, makes me miss my native land.