VJB quickly became a must visit destination in the Sonoma Valley. VJB Vineyards and Cellars reflects on their first decade in the winery business and time settling into their new home, it’s the combination of being firmly rooted in tradition coupled with an ability to dream beyond the present day. Our wines express the unique qualities of our land - the beautiful blend of soil, exposure, weather and family tradition that unite and create exceptional wines to be enjoyed with family and friends. We invite you to experience our family charm!
Located in the heart of Kenwood, California.
- Producing the most delicious wines.
- Meeting / Conference Facilities:
- Wedding Facilities:
- Picnic Facilities:
- Dog Friendly:
- Winery Tours:
- Wine Tasting:
- Art or Architecture:
- Organic / Biodynamic:
- Wine Club:
- Lodging / Bed & Breakfast:
Average Bottle Price
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. Patrons loved Maria Belmonte’s food and chatting with Vittorio and his sons Henry and Victor who ran the front of the house. As Henry and Victor 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. There were five wines on the wine list including their flagship wine, Dante, a Cabernet Sauvignon-Sangiovese blend which they still produce.
Although welcoming guests to their storefront tasting room and introducing them to an ever growing list of Italian varietals and seeing them enjoy these wines 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, first planting more vines for their popular Montepulciano and Aglianico wines, then 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 a fabulous 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 wonderful, home style Italian food Maria is so well known for, VJB quickly became a must visit destination in the Sonoma Valley.
As the family and VJB Vineyards and Cellars reflects on their first decade in the winery business and time settling into their new home, it’s the combination of being firmly rooted in tradition coupled with an ability to dream beyond the present day that’s led them from running a popular restaurant to owning a small tasting room to their current property that blends the best of both worlds into a place where guests can enjoy wine, food and true Italian hospitality embraced in the company of family and friends.
Henry’s first experience with wine and winemaking came at the early age of 9, while taking in the distinct aromas of grapes being pressed and fermented when his father and uncles would make homemade table wines in the basement of their Massachusetts home. However, it wasn’t until many years later that Henry and his brother Victor began to create and produce their own wine under the family label. Today, in addition being a devoted father to three young children, Henry oversees all aspects of the winery while creating a family environment enjoyed by all who visit!
Vittorio Belmonte – Proprietor:
Vittorio first picked grapes from the family vineyard in his hometown of Bonito, Italy, at the age of 8 years old. Those early days in Italy were the foundation for Vittorio’s desire for authenticity when it comes to the wine varietals and their characteristics produced by VJB. Vittorio continues to influence the winemaking with his tireless energy overseeing the vineyard management & winemaking teams.
Maria Belmonte – Executive Chef:
Maria was also born in Bonito, Italy, and began cooking when she was just 10 years old, learning authentic southern Italian recipes from her mother and grandmother. When Vittorio & Maria settled in Kenwood, California in 1976, Maria opened the family café which featured her flavorful Italian dishes and garnished acclaim and accolades from industry critics and those in the community. In 1987, Maria decided to sell the small café to open a restaurant in nearby downtown Santa Rosa where, for 15 years, she continuously impressed guests with her creativity and tireless commitment to outstanding cuisine. Today, Maria has assumed the role of Executive Chef for the winery and continues to turn out amazing fare for lunches, dinners and special events held at the Tasting Room. She has also created a line of sauces, pestos and tapenades which have been featured in such publications as In Style Magazine & Wine Spectator.