Brys Estate Vineyard and Winery welcomed the return of its Wine Wagon Tour and Tasting on Memorial Day weekend. The wagon tours were closed due to COVID-19 in 2020, the same year Brys celebrated its 15th anniversary.
Brys was established on the Old Mission Peninsula by Walter and Eileen Brys in the late 1990s. The couple purchased it as an abandoned cherry orchard, complete with a farmhouse, four barns and migrant quarters. They renovated the house, inspired by a visit to a Napa Valley winery in 1975.
The first harvest of Brys’ initial 10,000 vines was in 2004. The following year, the family opened the tasting room. The estate has since expanded to 111 acres of 40,000-plus vines, as well as the farmhouse, Secret Garden and wine production areas — all of which can be explored on the wine wagon tour.
The two-hour tour begins when guests arrive at the tasting room and receive a welcome pour. The tour guide dives into Brys’ origin story and operations as guests are transported to five destinations in an open-sided electric shuttle.
The first stop is the Brys Estate Family Farmhouse, where guests relax and sip wine on the porch before moving on to the vineyard and winery overlook.
“From that point of view you can see the winery and the farmhouse and the guesthouse all at once,” says Taylor Lopiccolo, Brys’ hospitality manager. “And there’s the big vineyard in front, so it’s just a really cool spot to see it all from a different angle, and it’s really only if you’re on this tour that you can access that spot.”
After guests take in the view, there’s a winding drive to the Secret Garden. Hidden from the road and the winery, the garden boasts 6,000 lavender plants and a strawberry patch. There’s also a gift shop where homemade bath and body products are sold. At the garden, guests are served a light picnic of cheese and charcuterie.
Then it’s on to the Cabernet Franc Vineyard, where guests learn about the annual vineyard growth cycle and the vertical trellising system before moving on to the wine production areas. The guide leads a tour through the cellar into barrel rooms where red wines are actively aging or fermenting, depending on the time of year.
Along with wine tasting at each destination, guests receive a souvenir logo glass, a wineglass-holder lanyard and bottled water. While the experience is communal — the wagon fits seven passengers — private tours are available.
“We have had a lot of people interested in booking some private experiences for their level of concern, so we have different options,” Lopiccolo says. “It’s exciting to see it back out and about, and reception has been really great so far.”
Wine wagon tours are available throughout the summer until Sept. 4. Tickets cost $45 per person ($40 for Brys Estate Wine Club members). Private tours are $300 ($250 for members). Advance reservations are required.
For more information, visit www.brysestate.com.