Napa County may have been the first to acquire international recognition for its wines, but wine country's first wine came from Sonoma County. Learn the history behind some of the cornerstones of the wine industry or discover the secrets of some of the emerging brands. Visit Buena Vista Winery and learn the history of the "Father of California's Premium Wine Industry", Count Agoston Haraszthy, a former member of the Hungarian Royal Guard who in 1857 chose Sonoma Valley as the location for his dream vineyard. The Count traveled to Europe and brought back varietal grape cuttings unique to the famous European wine producing regions. The trip formed the foundation of today's premium California vineyards.
Equally rich in heritage is Sebastiani Vineyards. It's history dates back to 1825 when the Franciscan Fathers of nearby Mission San Francisco Solano, assisted by local Native Americans, first cleared land and planted vines for their winery. These vines are among the oldest vineyard sites in Northern California. They were acquired in 1904 by Samuele Sebastiani, the founder of the family winery, who immigrated from the wine producing of Tuscany in northern Italy in 1895.
Although not a winery, wine was an essential element in the Missions of California. Another cornerstone in the area's history is the Mission San Francisco of Solano, the oldest structure in Sonoma and the last of the 21 Missions constructed in California. Discouraged by declining opportunity at the nearby Dolores Mission, a zealous young Padre founded the Mission in Sonoma on July 4, 1823.
Though it hasn't been around as long as some of the previously mentioned locations, Bartholomew Park Winery has a fascinating history as well. It was founded in 1994 by the Bundschu Family whose vision was to produce handcrafted, vineyard designate wines. Though the winery is relatively young the Bundschu family had been growing grapes and making wine on their Rhinefarm Estate in Sonoma Valley since 1854. When the nearby winery site was vacated in the early 90's, Jim Bundschu realized his dream of creating a winery that produced small lots of wine from other vineyards in the region.
These options are only a glimpse of what California Wine Tours can offer for corporate clients, small groups or a couple looking for a romantic getaway. Whether you are a local or are visiting wine country for a short time, we encourage you to take advantage of one of our existing educational programs or one of our experienced tour professionals can assist you in customizing an excursion that fits your specific needs.