Founded by John Benson in 1885, Far Niente prospered until the onset of Prohibition in 1919, when the winery ceased operation and the buildings and estate were abandoned. Sixty years later, in 1979, Gil and Beth Nickel purchased the old stone shell of a winery and spent three years restoring the building to its original, 19th century grandeur. During restoration the name, "Far Niente," which romantically translated means "without a care," was found carved in stone on the front of the building. In 1998, Far Niente was reunited with its past when a bottle of 1886 Far Niente Sweet Muscat, intact with its original cork, capsule and label, was found in a wine cellar in Marin County, California. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, Far Niente produces critically acclaimed, estate bottled Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines that are renowned for their consistent house style and ability to evolve with extended age.
Guided tours and tastings are offered several times each day, by appointment. Tours begin with a walk through the historic, tri-level winery, which is built into the surrounding hillside. Guests are then led through a portion of the 40,000 square-foot Far Niente wine aging caves, which were the first modern wine caves built in North America when excavation began in 1980. The tour concludes with a viewing of the Carriage House, home to a fascinating collection of classic automobiles.
Tastings follow each tour and feature the current releases of Far Niente estate wines, including a Napa Valley Chardonnay and Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as carefully aged Chardonnay and Cabernet from the Far Niente Cave Collection. A seasonal cheese pairing is also featured. Each tasting ends with a taste of Dolce, the sumptuous, late harvest wine produced by Far Niente’s sister winery, also called Dolce.
Wine clubs are a great way to stay connected to your favorite wineries.
To join the wine club, visit www.farniente.com or call 707-944-2861.
"Dolce Far Niente," the Italian phrase meaning, "It's sweet doing nothing," describes a way of enjoying life's passions, without a care. It is a phrase that embodies the spirit of the Far Niente, Dolce and Nickel & Nickel wineries.
We invite you to become a patron of the Dolce Far Niente Society, a club comprised of enthusiasts of the Far Niente family of wineries. It's our way of bringing a touch of Dolce Far Niente to you throughout the year.
The benefits of membership include:
- Four quarterly shipments, including three bottles of wine consisting of a combination of Far Niente, Dolce and/or Nickel & Nickel.
- Shipments may include advance and current vintages, as well as offerings from the Far Niente Cave Collection library.
- 20 percent savings on the additional purchase of the featured wines for 30 days after each shipment.
- 15 percent savings on additional purchases of wine anytime from Far Niente, Dolce and Nickel & Nickel, in person or by phone.
- Complimentary VIP tours and tastings by appointment at the private Far Niente winery, as well as at Nickel & Nickel. Members may be joined by two guests for the tours and tastings.
- Invitations to exclusive, patron-only winery events and programs at Far Niente and Nickel & Nickel.
Ask a winery associate to begin your membership either in person at the winery, or by calling Far Niente at 707-944-2861.