Buena Vista Winery was founded in 1857, and is the oldest commercial winery in California. It is based in Sonoma, with a rich and delicious heritage as the first premium and certainly the most colorful of all of the wineries in California. And its founder, the self-proclaimed “Count of Buena Vista”, Agoston Haraszthy, was a vivacious and eccentric pioneer with a veritable love and unending commitment to California wine.
Surrounded by his own tales of intrigue and political exile, The Count immigrated from Europe in 1840 in pursuit of opportunity and freedom in the burgeoning American West. Following the forty-niners in search of gold in the hills of Northern California, Haraszthy sought “purple gold” — the perfect ‘terroir’ for exceptional wine. He ultimately settled in Sonoma, birthplace of California and capital of the short-lived California Republic.
A committed farmer, an experimental innovator and vintner, a respected author, a shrewd businessman and a brilliant and incredibly zealous promoter, The Count is considered California’s most acclaimed and flamboyant vinicultural pioneer and evangelist.
Despite his abrupt death in 1869 in an alligator-infested river in the jungles of Nicaragua and following the challenges of the depression, prohibition, and phylloxera infestation; his beloved Buena Vista Winery has not only endured but also prospered.