100 year old wineries in Sonoma

Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma

Visit historic Sonoma Valley wineries just off the Sonoma Plaza

There are four top  Sonoma wineries in the town of Sonoma. Located near the famous Sonoma town plaza are several renowned wineries including two of the oldest wineries in California. Visit the Buena Vista winery and Gundlach Bundschu winery for a historical perspective of winemaking in California. At Sebastiani, another 100-year-old winery, you will see a new tasting room and facility. At Ravenswood, you will find Zinfandels galore. A picnic lunch is ideal at Buena Vista or Gundlach Bundschu. 

Top Wineries to Visit in the Town of Sonoma

• Gundlach Bundschu – Sixth generation of family ownership, informed tasting room staff
• Buena Vista Winery – Recently purchased & remodel by Boisset Family. Restored cellar is open.
• Sebastiani Vineyards – Sebastiani Family, started in 1904, owned by Foley Family Wines
• Ravenswood Winery – So many different Zins, Joel Peterson, the master Zin winemaker

We recommend you visit no more than three wineries in one day. Relax and enjoy the wine country.

Dining and Lodging Recommendations

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Gundlach Bundschu

To get to this historic family-owned winery from the plaza, travel east on East Napa Rd., turn right on 8th St. and follow the white winery signs. The wines are all excellent at this historic winery. The winery began operation in 1857 with a founding date just a short three months later than the nearby Buena Vista Winery. The winery today is owned by the same family and is now in its sixth generation with Jim Bundschu at the helm. The winery produces about 40,000 cases of wine per year. They provide an incredible 16 wine varieties and all but two are produced from the Gundlach Bundschu Estate of 350 acres of vineyards. They produce several white varietals, all dry and well balanced. The reds are the most recognized, with the Merlot, the best seller. The grounds are quite beautiful, with a terrific picnic area. Don’t pass by this winery. Two favorite wines: The dry Gewurztraminer and the delicious Tempranillo.

Tasting room open daily, 11 am to 4:30, (707) 939 3015
info@gunbun.com, Gundlach Bundschu

Buena Vista Winery

If you are a wine history buff, you will need to stop at the Buena Vista winery, the first premium winery in California and a registered historic landmark. It opened its doors in 1857, founded by wine pioneer Count August Hazasthy. Today the winery is own by Boisset Family Estates. You will enjoy browsing the memorabilia in this historic tasting room. Jean Charles Boisset has recently modernized the facilities including the historic caves.  To get to the winery from the Sonoma Plaza, travel east on East Napa Rd., almost to the end, and turn left on Old Winery Rd. and follow the signs to the winery. We recently posted an article about the Buena Vista winemaker, Brian Maloney. Be sure to visit the Buena Vista Winery Website to get the latest information tasting and tours.

Tasting room open daily, 10 am to 5, (800) 926 1266
bvw_info@buenavistawinery.com, Buena Vista Winery

Sebastiani Vineyards

Sebastiani is another grand old winery in the town of Sonoma. The Sebastiani Family began operating this winery in 1904. In 2009 the Sebastiani Family sold the winery to Bill Foley and his Foley Estate corporation. Only time will tell if the long tradition of this beautiful winery continues. The winery still has much history of California winemaking to view and experience. To get to the tasting room from the Plaza, head out along East Napa St. to Fourth St. East. Make a left turn and you will shortly see the parking lot and hospitality center.

Tasting room open daily, 10 am to 5
(707) 933-3230, Email: info@sebastiani.com, Sebastiani Vineyards 

Ravenswood Winery

If you like Zinfandel wine, make sure you put Ravenswood winery at the top of your list. The winery currently makes 15 different Zinfandels. Fourteen of these Zinfandels are made in tiny case lots, and many of these are sold only at the winery or through the winery’s web site. The other Zinfandel is called the Vintners’ Blend, and the winery makes 300,000 cases of this wine per year. It is their inexpensive bargain and value wine that you will find in most supermarkets. Why so much of this wine? The Vintners’ Blend makes the winery profitable and enables them to produce some hand-crafted, high-quality wines that are less profitable. It’s a good trade-off. They also produce a few whites, and one that we found to be exciting was a very reasonably priced dry Gewurztraminer for $12. A good idea when visiting Ravenswood is to compare a few of the Zinfandels made from various areas of California. You get an idea of the aroma and flavor differences found in the different growing regions. To get to Ravenswood Winery, take Fourth St. East, and drive past Sebastiani. Turn right onto Lovall Valley Rd, then a left turn onto Gehricke Road and up the hill a short distance.

Tasting room open daily 10 to 5,
(888) 669-4679, Ravenswood Winery