Mathew Bruno Winery in Rutherford Napa Valley.

Mathew Bruno Winery in Rutherford Napa Valley

By Published On: June 27th, 2024

Gorgeously renovated 1894 Victorian home beckons with premium Cabernet Sauvignons, fine food pairings, and a refined but relaxed vibe.

By the tender age of 10, Mathew Bruno knew he was interested in wine. His Southern Italian-born grandfather and great grandfather had been growing grapes and making wine in their home cellar for more than 50 years, and when his grandparents relocated to California in 1938, the appreciation traveled with the group.

The family would gather around the dinner table, Bruno recalls, sharing food and wine with friends, and as a special treat, Bruno was given a glass of 7-Up splashed with a touch of red wine.

After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Bruno joined his father Matt and brother Tony to start making their own wines, soon focusing on prized vineyards in Napa and Sonoma counties. Not long after, Bruno released his first proprietary wine, a 2009 Mathew Bruno Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley.

Mathew Bruno has been crafting fine wines for 15 years, and now operates his own, high-end tasting room.
Mathew Bruno has been crafting fine wines for 15 years, and now operates his own, high-end tasting room. Photo Courtesy: Mathew Bruno Winery.
 

Today, Bruno operates a posh tasting room, showcasing premium wines crafted of grapes from acclaimed vineyards like Stagecoach, Beckstoffer’s To Kalon and Georges III. His brother Tony is co-owner, and the siblings still work with their original winemaker and childhood friend, Stephens Moody.

The Setting

It took six years for the tasting room to open. Set in an 1894 Victorian home, the property had been abandoned and fallen to neglect, requiring extensive renovation but also stringent permits and architectural review to preserve its historical importance. It had never been open to the public before.

Enter in back at the bottle library, and you’ll see a glass panel in the floor, looking down to the house's ancient root cellar.
Enter in back at the bottle library, and you’ll see a glass panel in the floor, looking down to the house’s ancient root cellar. Photo Courtesy: Mathew Bruno Winery.

Finally debuted in mid-2023, the space now charms with original bay windows, and cozy touches like Victorian-style teak rockers set on the wraparound porch for views of a bocce court, lavender garden, 125-year-old olive trees, and the neighboring Star Vineyard.

The historic Victorian home was renovated root cellar to ceiling, for indoor-outdoor tastings.
The historic Victorian home was renovated root cellar to ceiling, for indoor-outdoor tastings. Photo Courtesy: Mathew Bruno Winery.

You can taste at oak tables outside, or relax in the more modern inside, where plush sofas and armchairs await in semi-private parlors bathed in a rich, Cabernet red color scheme.

Semi-private salons make for intimate tastings that feel like you’re in an elegant home
Semi-private salons make for intimate tastings that feel like you’re in an elegant home. Photo Courtesy: Mathew Bruno Winery.

The Wines

Cabernet Sauvignon remains the hallmark, including a stunning, newly released 2021 To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (the dark fruit-chocolate kissed beauty is limited to 74 cases, sold in three-packs for $975). 

Mathew Bruno Cabernet Sauvignons win high points for their signature silky, elegant texture and rich berry-herb-earthy oak layerings.
Their Cabernet Sauvignons win high points for their signature silky, elegant texture and rich berry-herb-earthy oak layerings. Photo Courtesy: Mathew Bruno Winery.

Yet now, the team has expanded to other varietals, including Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir, Carneros Chardonnay, Yountville Sauvignon Blanc, a lively Carneros Blanc de Blancs sparkling, and a beautifully delicate Dry Creek Valley Rosé of Grenache that, yes, I could happily drink all day long. 

Mathew Bruno Rosé is inspired by the Rhone Valley French style.
The graceful Rosé is inspired by the Rhone Valley French style. Photo Courtesy: Mathew Bruno Winery.

Good to Know

Wines here can be pricey, and the team is polished. But tasting hosts quickly “read the room,” and if you want a more chill experience, they keep tasting fun and joyously personable. Do spend a little extra above the basic tasting, and get the charcuterie platter – it’s a top notch selection, abundant with lots of silky meats, cheeses, dried fruit, nuts and olives.

Wine tasting at Mathew Bruno.
Wine tasting. Photo Courtesy: Mathew Bruno Winery.

I like to take friends in for the bocce experience, too, and impress them with a two-hour, private immersion. Sip through the wines, savor a high-end lunch from Oakville Grocery, and see who can win in that crazy game of Italian bowling that helps makes Wine Country such a happy place.

Mathew Bruno bocce court with vineyard view.
Bocce court with vineyard view. Photo Courtesy: Mathew Bruno Winery.

Fun Fact 

If you enter through the pack porch, you’ll suddenly fine yourself standing on a piece of clear glass floor. Don’t worry – the sturdy glass gives a peek into an ancient root cellar, a cherished treasure from the home’s 19th century days.

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