Carneros Winery Loses Tasting Room to Fire

The owners of Larson Family Winery lost the barn and its collection of Sonoma Rodeo and Seabiscuit memorabilia; firefighters saved the winery cellars

Carneros Winery Loses Tasting Room to Fire
Firefighters were at the winery within minutes and were able to save surrounding buildings, but not the old barn. (Courtesy Larson Family Winery)
Mar 9, 2022

Firefighters raced to the Larson Family Winery, a small producer in the Carneros region of Sonoma, on the evening of March 2, as a fire raged through the barn that serves as the winery's tasting room. They were able to save adjacent structures, including the winery. The majority of the winery's inventory was also spared, but the tasting room's interior was gutted and the building will be demolished. No injuries were sustained, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

"911 was called at 8:55 p.m., and firefighters were there by 9 p.m.," said Erica Larson, the winery's general manager. "Six stations in total came to respond." Original documents, photos and memorabilia from the property's days hosting the Sonoma Rodeo were lost in the blaze, but Larson praised the quick response for saving their production facility and homes on the property that date to 1865.

The Larson property was once a training site for 1930s champion thoroughbred Seabiscuit; a member of the Larson family trained the racehorse during a six-week visit. And the homes housed captains of what was once a nearby river port on Sonoma Creek, hauling passengers and freight from San Francisco.

The winery was founded in 1978, and its first commercial vintage was released in 1989. The small production is sold entirely direct-to-consumer. The family also sells grapes to wineries including Rombauer, Artesa and ZD.

"Our family is so grateful for the outpouring of love and support from our community. It has given us tremendous inspiration and hope," said Larson. The winery is still operating and the family plans to reopen for tastings with a temporary structure after demolishing the tasting room.

Damaged barn]
The fire destroyed the inside of the barn and damaged it structurally. Dozens of wine bottles were ruined, as well as memorabilia from the property’s time as home to the Sonoma Rodeo. (Courtesy Larson Family)

Stay on top of important wine stories with Wine Spectator's free Breaking News Alerts.

News disasters fires California Sonoma Carneros

You Might Also Like

Bordeaux Begins the 2021 Futures Campaign in Challenging Times: En Primeur Prices and Analysis

Bordeaux Begins the 2021 Futures Campaign in Challenging Times: En Primeur Prices and Analysis

Facing a rough growing season and unsettled economies, leading wineries are taking a …

May 20, 2022
Major Food Group Debuts Dirty French Steakhouse in Miami; Daniel Boulud Opens Le Gratin in New York

Major Food Group Debuts Dirty French Steakhouse in Miami; Daniel Boulud Opens Le Gratin in New York

The team of Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick are expanding their presence in …

May 19, 2022
Prince Robert de Luxembourg Auctions Wines Straight from Haut-Brion's Cellars for a Cause Close to Home

Prince Robert de Luxembourg Auctions Wines Straight from Haut-Brion's Cellars for a Cause Close to Home

The Sotheby's sale of rare collectibles—Haut-Brion, La Mission Haut-Brion and other top …

May 18, 2022
Destin Charity Wine Auction Raises $3.8 Million for Children in Need

Destin Charity Wine Auction Raises $3.8 Million for Children in Need

The northwest Florida event has become one of the country's largest, supporting 16 …

May 11, 2022
Instagram Live Chats: View Wine Spectator's Upcoming Schedule

Instagram Live Chats: View Wine Spectator's Upcoming Schedule

Our next two episodes feature American music trio and founders of Gaslighter Wine Co. The …

May 21, 2022
Sommelier Caleb Ganzer Reaches Agreement with District Attorney on Arson Charges

Sommelier Caleb Ganzer Reaches Agreement with District Attorney on Arson Charges

Accused of torching two outdoor dining sheds in 2021, the sommelier will pay restitution to …

May 9, 2022