As soon as guests step foot onto the VJB Vineyards & Cellars property, a transformation takes place. The warmth, happiness, and pride of this family owned, family run winery seems to greet guests with an intangible smile. And the joy is evident on the faces of the staff and of visitors.
While showcasing Italian varietals from Sonoma, VJB Vineyards is dedicated to the meritage of two passions; the making of extraordinary wines, and unforgettable experiences. The seeds of owning a winery were sown in the late 1990s when the family owned Caffe Portofino, a popular restaurant in downtown Santa Rosa. As brothers Henry and Victor Belmonte watched diners enjoy wine with their meals, they had an idea to start making their own wine to sell at the restaurant.
The brothers made their first harvest of Cabernet grapes in 1999, but before that wine was ever bottled, Victor passed away unexpectedly. Though filled with grief, Henry, along with his parents, was determined to keep his younger brother’s memory and passion for making wine alive. VJB Vineyards and Cellars—named for Victor Joseph Belmonte— was born.
In 2002, the Belmonte’s sold their restaurant and began renovating an old home and garden store on Highway 12 in Kenwood. They opened this tasting room on Memorial Day weekend in 2003. Although welcoming guests to their storefront tasting room and introducing them to an ever growing list of Italian varietals was gratifying, the Belmonte family had dreams of creating something more. They wanted a space where visitors could experience not only wine, but also food, and an atmosphere that spoke to their Italian heritage and hospitality.
In late 2010 they broke ground on their current tasting room and marketplace, turning the existing ranch-style home on the property into a stunning Tuscan-style villa that houses their tasting room, marketplace and deli, as well as an outdoor pizza kitchen and an Italian-inspired piazza that is the heart of the new property.
In the summer of 2012 VJB Vineyards and Cellars celebrated its grand opening. With a portfolio of more than 15 wines including several Italian varietals rarely produced in California, coupled with wood oven pizzas and the delicious, home style Italian food Maria is so well known for, VJB quickly became a must visit destination in the Sonoma Valley.
Guests are invited to enjoy a selection of Tasting Options. Sample Current Releases in the Tasting Room, or make an appointment for a seated tasting of Current Releases and Limited Production Wines on the Piazza. Reserve a seated Private Tasting in the winery’s art gallery served with an artisan cheese and salumi board. Or meet the owners by reserving the Owner’s Tasting – a unique, intimate tasting with owners Vittorio and Henry Belmonte.
No matter which option, VJB Vineyards is a place where guests can savor wines that blend Old World tradition with New World innovation, wonderful food, and true Italian hospitality embraced in the company of family and friends.