Korbel Train Station – Cigar boxes and wine
The three Korbel Brothers came to San Francisco in the 1850’s hoping to make their fortune in the California Gold Rush. Unfortunately, by the time they arrived, the Gold Rush was over. Back in their home country of Czechoslovakia they had been in the business of making cigar boxes. In the San Francisco area, they saw an opportunity to put their expertise to work. They purchased land in various spots, including the Russian River area near the town of Guerneville. The giant Redwood Trees that densely populated the region provided the ideal wood for their cigar box manufacturing business. But they also needed a way to transport those cigar boxes to the port of San Francisco. The solution was to build a connecting railway so they could ship their cigar boxes. The railroad station above is the original. This is where visitors to the Korbel Winery begin their tour and tasting. Korbel is one of the most historic wineries in California, and a tour of Korbel provides a wonderful history of the Korbel Brothers and their business adventures. Imagine clearing huge Redwood trees by hand! No electricity or power saws available, just pure muscle and sweat. Once the Redwoods were cleared and the land was bare, the entrepreneurial Korbel Brothers began to experiment with growing various crops. Well, lo and behold, the best crops were wine grapes. The Russian River provided the ideal soil and climate for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, two of the main grapes of sparkling wine. Korbel is open daily for tours and tastings. Korbel also has a deli where visitors can sit on the patio and gaze at the wondrous Redwood Trees and the vineyard that runs along the Russian River. The Korbel gardens are another spectacular attraction.