Just off the highway is the recently renovated winery of Freemark Abbey, surrounded by a complex of outbuildings, winery offices, shops, a restaurant, patios and lawns. Back along the trellised walkway is their spacious tasting room.
The history of Freemark Abbey began in 1886, when Josephine Marlin Tychson became the first woman to build and operate a winery in California. The historic site where
Josephine's winery, Tychson Cellars, once stood is now known as Freemark Abbey. In 1939, three businessmen from Southern California, Albert "Abbey" Ahern, Charles Freeman and Markquand Foster purchased the old winery. They renamed it Freemark Abbey (a combination of all three partners’ names).
The tasting room is large and comfortable with a dramatic wood-beamed ceiling, comfortable leather chairs, a fireplace and French doors leading outside to a deck. The “L”-shaped tasting counter can be very busy with visitors sampling their well-known red and white wines.
Freemark Abbey produces a Napa Valley Cabernet, the vineyard-designated Bosche Cabernet and Sycamore Cabernet. They also produce Merlot, Chardonnay and Riesling, as well as very limited-production wines such as Viognier, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese, and Cabernet Franc. If it is available, try their late-harvest Riesling for a mouthful of sweet peaches, apricots, honey and fruit blossoms.