We hadn’t heard much about Buehler Vineyards nor tasted their wines until we went to a wine tasting event sponsored by the Napa Valley Vintners Association. We enjoyed the Buehler wines we tasted and then shortly thereafter, the Wine Spectator rated their Buehler Vineyards 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon 90 points and listed this wine on its annual issue of Top Value wines. So on our next trip to the Napa Valley, we arranged to visit Buehler Vineyards.
You won’t find too many visitors at Buehler because the winery is open by appointment only and the winery’s location is at the base of Howell Mountain, some six miles in from the Silverado Trail. Don’t let this stop you from visiting, the views are breathtaking and the wines are a great value.
We met with John Buehler Jr. the owner of Buehler Vineyards and John gave us a brief history of the winery. In 1971 John Buehler Sr. retired and purchased this beautiful hillside property. John Jr. went to work managing the winery and making the wines until the winery became well established. In 1982 John Jr. hired Heidi Barrett, now the renowned consulting winemaker for several of Napa Valley’s most prestigious wineries. Today, David Cronin is winemaker and has been crafting the Buehler wines since 1993.
John took us on a vineyard tour that was quite amazing. The views are very pretty and there is also the structure that was a “ghost” winery before the days of prohibition. Today, it houses the horses and some bats and owls. The winery has 55 acres of hillside vineyards planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. In addition, the winery brings in Chardonnay grapes from the Russian River Valley to make its gentle Chardonnay wine.
Following our vineyard and winery tour John took us into the tasting room and we sampled five wines, three Cabernets, a Zinfandel, and the Chardonnay. All the wines were very delicious. We were surprised by the fact that the wines were priced so reasonably, compared to other wineries with the same type of hillside vineyards. For example, the vineyard designated Papa’s Knoll Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is priced at $45. We have seen many hillside wines like this for well over $100. Earlier in the day, we had tasted a Cabernet on the Valley floor that was not nearly as tasty but priced at $75. The Buehler Zinfandel was a lovely wine but unfortunately, even though it was available for tasting, there is none left to sell at the winery. Fortunately, we were able to find a few bottles of the Buehler Zinfandel at our local wine shop.
We had a very nice visit and once again reaffirmed our notion that visiting family-owned wineries is always a unique and exciting experience.
The Good: Spectacular views, hillside wines at reasonable prices, family owned.
The Bad: Zinfandel sold out.