Founded in 1857 by Agoston Haraszthy, Buena Vista is California’s first premium winery. Haraszthy, a vivacious and eccentric pioneer, immigrated from Europe in 1840 in pursuit of the good life. Following in the footsteps of the forty-niners, he found the perfect terroir for “purple gold” north of the Bay in the late 1850s. As the self proclaimed “Count of Buena Vista,” Haraszthy established a reputation as an experimental vintner, a shrewd businessman and a flamboyant evangelist. (He died as he had lived — dramatically — in an alligator-infested river in the jungles of Nicaragua). The legend of Haraszhty and his winery is now recreated by Buena Vista owner Jean-Charles Boisset, a modern-day version of the eccentric count. The winery hosts a series of events throughout the year, including a Living History Extravaganza.
Buena Vista Winery has so much history that even the employees dress the part. There are multiple reserved tasting experiences on offer, or groups of up to seven can drop in for a selection of new and library releases ($20-$30). It truly feels like you’ve taken a step back in time once your feet hit these grounds. To fully immerse yourself, go for the historic wine tool museum tour and tasting ($25) or reserve a winery-provided picnic, which includes a tasting flight in the historic press house.