Under-The-Radar No More: Mathew Bruno Winery

Mathew Bruno Winery produced its first vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon in 2009, yet the Napa Valley winery has flown very much under the radar these past many years. A small production accounts for some of the anonymity, as does eponymous co-owner Mathew Bruno’s humble and self-effacing character. But a sparkling new hospitality center is blowing the lid off of the winery’s relative obscurity. Mathew Bruno Rutherford Estate is the new “in” spot for Napa Valley wine tasting. Located within a remodeled 19th century historic home, the estate is quickly becoming a word-of-mouth favorite for its quintessentially “Napa” tasting environ.

Mathew Bruno Rutherford Estate

Named for current co-proprietor Mathew Bruno and his father (also Mathew), family-owned Mathew Bruno Wineryproduces 100% varietals made with fruit from some of the most sought-after vineyards in Napa and Sonoma. Bruno grew-up around wine within a central valley agricultural environment; his Italian-born grandfather and great grandfather grew grapes and made wine in a home cellar in Modesto, California. Bruno recalls fond memories of wine-centered family gatherings—the impetus for starting the family venture.

Mathew Bruno

With a winemaking team of Stephens Moody and his wife, Dr. Nichola Hall (a fermentation scientist and specialist), Bruno seeks out esteemed sites for expressive Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir Rosé, and a luminescent sparkling wine. Stagecoach Vineyard, Beckstoffer’s To Kalon Vineyard, the Baldacci Family’s Honey B Vineyard, and the Hoxsey Family’s Block House Vineyard, to name a few, are some of Bruno’s sources. The quality varietals can be sampled at the winery’s new hospitality center—Mathew Bruno Rutherford Estate—a historic Victorian home turned urbane tasting venue. Featuring old world Napa Valley charm, many of the original historic foundations and features were preserved, such as floor to ceiling bay windows that allow natural light to spill into the space.

Mathew Bruno Rutherford Estate’s wrap-around porch
Matthew Bruno Rutherford Estate interior. Photo by Fran Miller

The interior features Pavés de Paris End-Grain French Oak Floors imported from Paris, bronze tables by sculptor and designer Chuck Moffit, blackened steel side tables from Coup D’Etat, and ornamental accents like a Grape Sprig Copper Sculpture by luxury designer, Robert Kuo. Outside, 25-foot tall Canary Palms Trees were brought in from San Diego to reflect the historical significance of palm trees marking homes in the late 1800s. Natural teak rockers decorate the wraparound porch that has east, south, and north views of the courtyard featuring 125-year old olive trees, repurposed water features and mosaics, as well the lavender garden, bocce court, and the neighboring Star Vineyard.

“The rehabilitation of this historic site has long been a dream of our family,” says Bruno. “Upon first visiting the property, we knew this was the place for friends and family to come enjoy our wines in a truly unique location. We welcome guests to our Estate to share the story of our Italian family coming to America, the story of our winemaking in Napa Valley, and the stories of the families that have called this house a home.”

The Estate offers several experiences, and can accommodate private groups and events, all by appointment only. Enjoy:

  •  Semi-private seating areas indoors or outside on the tasting room’s wraparound porch overlooking the courtyard, featuring 125-year-old olive trees, as well as a lavender garden, bocce court, and the neighboring Star Vineyard.
  •  A picnic basket of lite bites showcasing fresh, seasonal ingredients, like smoked salmon, curry chicken, curated cheese, and charcuterie from selected partners and cheesemongers in the area – all curated by partner and local purveyor Oakville Grocery – a local favorite since ‘81.
  •  Tastings of Mathew Bruno’s current releases, including Los Carneros Blanc de Blancs, Dry Creek Valley Rose, Yountville Sauvignon Blanc, Los Carneros Chardonnay, Sun Chase Vineyard Pinot Noir, and Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon.
Mathew Bruno current release wines

Tasting experiences include:

Rutherford Estate Tasting – Enjoy a tasting of  current release wines in one of the estate’s comfortable, semi-private seating areas indoors or outside on the wraparound porch overlooking the courtyard, lavender garden, bocce court and the neighboring Star Vineyard. Approximately 60 – 90 minutes. $50pp

Mathew Bruno Reserve Tasting – This elevated tasting experience includes a selection of curated cheese and charcuterie from selected partners and cheese mongers in the area along with a selection of current release wines. $75pp

In addition to its current release wines, the winery also features three very special single vineyard Cabernets:

The 2021 Stagecoach Cabernet Sauvignon is a single vineyard designate from the iconic Stagecoach Vineyard in Napa Valley, a historical gem, dating back to the 1800s. Due to challenges posed by fires, Mathew Bruno Winery has not produced this wine since the 2018 vintage. This release promises to be a remarkable return to the unique terroir of Stagecoach.

A 2021 To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is an exclusive release from the renowned To Kalon Vineyard. Limited to approximately 74 cases, this wine is available in three-packs priced at $375 each. With a history dating back to the 19th century, To Kalon is widely recognized for producing some of the finest wines in the region.

A 2021 RSVB Cabernet Sauvignon is a play on RSVP. RSVB stands for Rutherford Select Vineyard Block. This flagship Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from Beckstoffer’s GIII vineyard, and it comes with a unique story of two separate lots produced due to a shortage in Cabernet tonnage. The label, designed by Chuck House, draws inspiration from a formal invitation, embodying the elegance and exclusivity of this release.

Mathew Bruno Winery’s Single Vineyard Cabernets. Photo by Brianna Tanner

“These releases are really the pinnacle of what Mathew Bruno is and has become- a winery built to make the best Cabernets from the best vineyards in Napa Valley,” says Bruno. “We are honored to have relationships with esteemed vineyards like Stagecoach, Beckstoffer’s To Kalon and Georges III, which culminate with our fabulous winemakers to make a diverse set of unique Cabernets.”

Mathew Bruno Rutherford Estate, 1151 Rutherford Rd, Napa, CA

Photos courtesy of Mathew Bruno Winery, unless otherwise noted

Fran Miller

Fran Endicott Miller is an experienced travel, wine, and general feature writer for a variety of luxury lifestyle publications and websites. Prior to her journalism career she established and managed the Golden State Warriors' first official community relations department and efforts. Principled and genuine, she’s known for thoughtfully eloquent writing. When not traveling, she can be found walking her Northern California neighborhood with her beloved golden retriever Nate.