Buena Vista Winery
Before there were vineyards in every valley north of San Francisco, before Napa and Sonoma were household names, before there was a California wine world at all, there was Buena Vista. Founded in 1857, Buena Vista is California’s first premium winery, and its history is as colorful as it is proud. Today, the legend is being re-born under the vision of Jean-Charles Boisset, with Winemaker Brian Maloney in the cellar. The winery’s future is its past… its vivacious, colorful, and pioneering past!
Buena Vista Winery has a rich, delicious heritage as the first premium, and certainly the most colorful, of all of the wineries in California. Founded in 1857 by Agoston Haraszthy, the self-proclaimed “Count”, Buena Vista Winery is California’s first premium winery. The Count’s passion for innovation and excellence not only led to California’s first premium winery, but also to the development of the California wine world as we know it today. The Count saw the grand vision for producing fine wine in Sonoma, and Buena Vista was his vinicultural laboratory. He created the first gravity flow winery in California and excavated the first wine caves.
The Count had been the first to experiment with Redwood barrels for aging and fermenting, and he brought over 300 different varieties from Europe to California. Buena Vista joined the Boisset Collection in May 2011. Today, Proprietor Jean-Charles Boisset is returning Buena Vista to its original glory with the complete restoration and re-opening of the champagne cellars, which have been unavailable to the public for over 20 years. Buena Vista wines are being driven to greater heights under Winemaker Brian Maloney, including the reintroduction of Sonoma as well as Napa Valley, in honour of where it all began!
A Little More About The “Count”
Surrounded by his own tales of intrigue and political exile, The Count immigrated from Hungary in 1842 in pursuit of opportunity and freedom in the burgeoning American West. Following the forty-niners in search of gold in the hills of Northern California, Haraszthy sought “purple gold” – the perfect ‘terroir’ for exceptional wine. He ultimately settled in Sonoma, the birthplace of California and the capital of the short-lived California Republic, where he founded Buena Vista Winery in 1857.
A committed farmer, an experimental innovator and vintner, a respected author, a shrewd businessman, and a brilliant and incredibly zealous promoter, The Count is considered California’s most acclaimed and flamboyant vinicultural pioneer and evangelist.
Despite his abrupt death in 1869 in a crocodile-infested river in the jungles of Nicaragua and following the challenges of the depression, prohibition, and phylloxera infestation; his beloved Buena Vista Winery has not only endured but also prospered. Boisset Family Estates, a family with a true love and respect for Buena Vista, is passionately committed to continuing the imaginative vision and unrivaled legacy first created by The Count 150 years ago.
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