Sonoma Wineries: Ravenswood Winery and Buena Vista Winery
On a forested hillside a short walk from the
plaza, Ravenswood winery is best known for Zinfandel. You get a
close-up view of their postcard-perfect vineyards by walking up
Gehricke Road under mossy oaks, past creeks, canyons and rolling
hills. Ravenswood is popular on weekends for their “Barbecue
in the Vineyards" on the shady terrace, featuring homemade
sausages and the Ravenous Burger, washed down with the hearty reds.
The Ravenswood motto:
“No Wimpy Wines.”
From here, walk or drive to the enchanted gardens and vine-covered stone buildings of Buena Vista Winery, which was founded in the 1857 by a Hungarian, Count Agoston Haraszthy. A natural salesman, he convinced the state to pay for a trip to Europe, where he collected a hundred thousand vinefera cuttings and returned to dole them out to fledgling local growers, and he planted his own vineyards. A genius at grape-growing and winemaking, he shared his knowledge widely and is known as the father of California viticulture. Always a notorious character, in 1869 at age fifty-seven while on a trip to Nicaragua, he disappeared, and there is reason to believe he was gobbled up by a crocodile.
Bright with art and antiques, Buena Vista’s tasting room in the original stone press house is shaded by a grove of oaks beneath which picnickers linger over bottles of medal-winning Cabernets, Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. Bring your camera to shoot the huge carved wine barrel and other artifacts of early winemaking.
The article on this page is adapted from the book, Backroads of the California Wine Country by Karen Misuraca (www.karenmisuraca.com), published by Voyageur Press.