He was known on television as Ironside and Perry Mason, but Raymond Burr’s love of life went well beyond the small screen. His love of wine and a deep friendship brought him to Sonoma, where his wine and legacy live on today.
Raymond Burr met Robert Benevides in the 1950s when they were both actors on Perry Mason. Benevides would go on to produce the Ironside series and the friendship of the duo would bring them to own an island in Fiji and, eventually, a winery in Sonoma in the Northern California area where Benevides had grown up.
The duo continued their professional and personal partnership for over 30 years. Unfortunately, Raymond Burr would never see the fruits (pardon the pun) of his namesake winery. The place was originally to be named A Quinta dos Dos Amigos, which translates to “The Farm of Two Friends,” but Benevides wanted it to be named after his closest friend.
Memories of Burr are all over the winery in Dry Creek Valley, from photos of him to TV Guide covers to actual awards. Robert Benevides remains on the property and runs the winery as well as the tasting room. He keeps the product line to a minimum, focusing on quality over quantity. In addition to the vineyards, the property has also been home to orchards, a favorite flower of both Burr and Benevides.
The winery produces cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and cabernet franc. There is also a Port wine that is made from Portuguese varietals that are estate grown. Their chardonnays, which have earned gold ribbons, taste a bit different than the usual California ones, heavier on the butter than the fruit. The grounds are beautiful and guests are encouraged to do their tasting outside on the picnic benches.
The Raymond Burr Vineyard is getting ready for the Gala Release Party of the new Bordeaux-style blend Quartet. The party for the latest dedication to the legacy for Raymond Burr will take place on April 14th. Visit the winery’s website for more details on the event.