Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Faded Star Reborn

Early this month, I wrote about the Boisset family's efforts with Raymond Winery in the Napa Valley.  Tuesday I had the opportunity to see the results of their work since purchasing Sonoma's Buena Vista Winery in 2011.

Buena Vista Winery was founded in 1857 by Agoston Haraszthy, a native of Hungary, making it the oldest commercial winery in California.  In recent years, the winery went through a number of owners and its star faded.  The wines were good but not exceptional.  The old Champagne Cellars building closed due to damage sustained in the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.

In 2011, Boisset Family Wines, one of Burgundy's largest wine producers, purchased Buena Vista.  Led by Jean-Charles Boisset, the company began a major renovation of the property.  Last year, the Champagne Cellar reopened after undergoing an extensive seismic retrofit estimated to have cost over $7 million.  Also, for the first time in many years, wine was made onsite at Buena Vista.  More work remains, but today the old winery shines again.

Buena Vista offers a variety of tasting options. You can drop in to do a stand-up tasting of a variety of whites and reds.  By prior appointment, daily barrel tastings are offered in the Champagne Cellars at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.  On Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., "Count Haraszthy" will take you on a tour of the property and tell you about its rich history.  You'll need a reservation to join the Count on his walk.

Buena Vista Winery is a short drive from Sonoma Plaza at 18000 Old Winery Road.  The tasting room is open daily, excluding major holidays, from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.  If you would like to take a private tour of Sonoma Valley that includes a stop at Buena Vista, contact Blue Heron Custom Tours and Travel at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or

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