It’s an achievement no other California winery can claim: Buena Vista is 150 years old.
1857: James Buchanan was U.S. President and the 9-inning game was established by the first baseball convention. In this same year, the infamously colorful Hungarian nobleman, Agoston Haraszthy, staked claim to 500 acres of rolling foothills in the village of Sonoma and named it Buena Vista, or “beautiful view,” in Spanish.
Officially declared the Father of California Wine by the U.S. Congress on the 100th anniversary of his death (he supposedly fell victim to a Nicaraguan alligator in 1869), Haraszthy left behind a Buena Vista that fell into decrepitude following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
In 1943, a newspaperman named Frank H. Bartholomew purchased the winery. With the assistance of André Tchelistcheff—another colorful maestro of the type the wine industry creates every now and then—began Buena Vista’s long period of rehabilitation. One of the resurrected Buena Vista’s cardinal achievements in the modern era was to help pioneer the Carneros region.
In 2005, Buena Vista was purchased, along with several other wineries, by Beam Wine Estates, and the winery’s name was changed to Buena Vista Carneros to reflect the fact that all their grapes now come from the winery’s 800-acre estate Ramal Road vineyard.
At a party celebrating the occasion, Bill Newlands, president and CEO of Beam, introduced Val Haraszthy, the great-grandson of Agoston, who said how proud the founder would have been to see “this great winery once again taking the lead.” www.buenavistacarneros.com