Buena Vista Winery: Our Review

Did you know California produces 81 percent of the US wine sales making it the top producer in the US and the 4th largest in the world? That approximately 637,000 acres is planted for wine grapes?

So when you travel to Northern California, you are expected to visit wine country. Keep in mind there are over 1,700 wineries in the North San Francisco Bay Area. How do you choose when you have 2-3 hours to visit a winery and 1,700 to choose from?

Let me tell you what we did… we pulled up google and tried to find the winery closest to us.

Buena Vista Winery won the coin toss.

A Little History

Buena Vista was founded in 1857 and is known as California’s first premium winery. Agoston Haraszthy, the self-proclaimed “Count of Buena Vista,” immigrated from Hungary to California in pursuit of gold. He instead founded a love of California wine and pioneered the establishment of Buena Vista. His legacy continues with Jean-Charles Boisset.

The Boisset Family took possession of the Buena Vista in 2011 with a promise to continue to honor the dream and legend of the Count of Buena Vista.


Our Visit

Starting in Novato, California we made the 30 minute drive to Buena Vista. As it was a Sunday, we did take the advice given to us as traffic coming out of the wineries backs up early in the afternoon. Being from the south, we thought we could beat the crowds and nothing opens until after 12pm… not true in wine country. The winery opens at 10am and traffic backs up quickly as you wind your way to the winery.

Upon our arrival, we learned we should have made a reservation.

What does a reservation give you? A tour, a table in the shade or in the air conditioned tasting room (lesson learned).


Not a Wine Expert

Being a true wine connoisseur, I did not write down the names of the wines we sampled. Nor do I have a flowery description of how they tasted.

You will not hear me say “this lovely bouquet or the undertones have a black cherry…” Nothing against those who are able to put to words what they are able to taste in a lovely glass of wine or whisky. I just know what I like and don’t like.

I ordered an Old Vine Zinfandel and Parker and Mom had a sparkling Rosè. They were both very pretty in the fancy wine glasses and complimented the charcuterie board well.


On Location

When you travel with a photographer, you do bend some rules… one of the signs outside the barrel room had a Do Not Enter sign. It said Do Not Enter and nothing about stepping in to take pictures. See what I did there… it’s all semantics.

Although we did not go on the tour, no reservation and none available the same day, Parker did work his magic to get some amazing pictures of the wine barrels, outside sitting area and the winery grounds.

~photo credit: www.parkerbphotography.com

Our Review

Our main “regret” was not doing our homework prior to heading out to wine country. We will make a reservation and take a tour. The information gained from being on the inside usually proves to be interesting. I have been on a whisky and gin distillery tour in the past and was surprised at what you learn about the process of making whisky or gin. I am sure the wine tour would be the same.

Buena Vista Winery was beautiful and its history is something to be appreciated. The Count of Buena Vista would be proud to see his winery still offering an enchanting experience.

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