As well as portraying detective Perry Mason on the famous 1980s TV series, Raymond Burr had a second life as a wine connoisseur and orchid lover. He, along with his partner Robert Benevides, combined these loves to create the Raymond Burr Vineyards (8339 West Dry Creek Rd., 888/900-0024, www.raymondburrvineyards.com, daily 11 a.m.–5 p.m. by appointment only).
You’ll drive up a bumpy driveway past the greenhouse to reach the parking lot. Wine seekers then enter the tiny (by Wine Country standards) tasting room to sip a few of the Burr label vintages.
Frankly, most of the wines are tasty but not amazing compared to some other Sonoma products. But the staff and the winery’s cats are fun and friendly, the views from the tasting room porch out over the valley are stunning, and the tiny bar and small-town experience are reminiscent of an early time in the Wine Country.
Flower lovers must come on specific days or make an appointment in advance to take a tour of the greenhouses. Burr and Benevides have bred more than a thousand new orchid varieties, and you’ll get to see many of them here on the estate.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition