Far Niente, Established 1885
One of California's oldest wineries, Far Niente was founded in
1885 by world traveler and entrepreneur, John Benson. The winery flourished
until Prohibition, at which time it was abandoned and fell into complete disrepair.
The stately stone shell of a winery was purchased in 1979 by Gil Nickel, as part of his quest to create a world class wine estate in the Napa Valley. During restoration, the original name, Far Niente, romantically translated to "without a care", was found carved in stone on the front of the building, where it remains to this day. We felt an obligation to preserve the name in the hopes that we could recapture a bygone era when life was indeed without a care.
In 1998, Far Niente's link to its past was unearthed in an old Marin County wine cellar with the discovery of a bottle of 1886 Far Niente. This rare find has proven to be the only known bottle from the pre-prohibition years of Far Niente Winery and is reputed to be the oldest bottle of Napa Valley wine in existence today. The detailed pen and ink label of grapes in a hammock is significant. It has been attributed to the famous American artist, Winslow Homer, a nephew of John Benson. Since 1979, Far Niente wines carry an intricate 'art nouveau' style parchment label, designed by Marin artist, Tom Rodrigues.
Far Niente Winery / P.O. Box 327 / Oakville, CA 94562 / 707-944-2861
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