Originally, coming to the United States from Hungary in search of gold, Agoston Haraszthy settled in Sonoma as a grape farmer, establishing one of the first wineries in Sonoma in 1857. His early realization of the potential Sonoma had for viticulture, as well as his experimentation with many varieties of Vitas Vinafera grapes are what give Haraszthy the well-earned reputation as one of the fathers of California wine.
Due to Haraszthy's untimely death at the jaws of an alligator in a Nicaraguan stream in 1869, the Buena Vista Winery lay dormant and nonproductive for many decades. However, since 1949, the winery has been producing wines. With vineyards in the cool Sonoma region, Buena Vista makes the wines for which that region is known, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Chardonnay here tastes like a creamy, lemon apple with a hint of earthiness. The Pinot Noir has clean, red fruit aromas with good acidity and, also, a subtle earthiness.
The grounds of the winery are lovely, but the original stone house that now serves as the tasting room is absolutely compelling. With stone interior walls decorated with 19th century portraits and a large, dark wood tasting bar, it is hard to spend any time here and not think about the larger than life character that was Agoston Haraszthy. It is certainly worth a stop to pay homage to the Count of Buena Vista.
Buena Vista Winery is located at 18000 Old Winery Road in Sonoma.
Their online address is www.buenavistawinery.com