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In 1986, some 30 years after the hit television show PERRY MASON made Raymond Burr a household name, he decided to follow another passion and planted the small Dry Creek Valley estate that bears his name with his favorite wine grape, Cabernet Sauvignon. 
Much of the fourteen acre vineyard is on a steeply terraced hillside with very well drained soil. Although the Dry Creek Valley is a warm growing region, this south/east facing benchland is bathed in shade late in day and the cool breeze from the ocean keeps the temperature low at night. The combination allows the grapes to mature at a steady pace.
The intimate bungalow-style tasting room is filled with memorabilia from Raymond Burr's acting career, notably his Emmy awards and 14 vintage issues of TV Guide with his photo on the cover. The space is cozy, so unless the weather is dismal, visitors are able to take their glasses onto the patio, where they can be served in the shade of an ancient oak tree and take in the sweeping vistas sitting at rustic picnic tables.

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Open 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Friday, Saturday and Monday only
About Us
Raymond Burr and Robert Benevides had met, as professional actors, in the middle 1950s on the television program which was to make a legend of Burr, “Perry Mason.” Motivated in the beginning by friendship, the Burr/Benevides relationship was bolstered and advanced by their individual interest in, and knowledge of, the cultivation and hybridization of orchids. In the next several years this shared hobby began to grow until the obvious resolution was to make it a commercial venture. In the next two decades they registered over 250 new hybrids, most of which were named after friends of Raymond’s. 
Simultaneously, Benevides had become one of the producers on Mr. Burr’s very successful television series “Ironside” and together they bought and managed an island in Fiji, where they raised coconuts and cattle. 
In 1976, Benevides, on the advice of his father, purchased an abandoned farm in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, and in the following months, as the eight year filming of “Ironside” drew to a close, Burr and Benevides traveled to northern California, the scene of both their young lives; Burr, born in BC Canada was raised in Vallejo, Benevides on the Peninsula, both attended school in Berkeley, Robert at Cal and Raymond at Willard Jr. High School. 
The grapes were planted in 1986: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and for the proprietors, a small section of Portuguese grapes with which to fashion an Estate Port. Originally intended for family and friends, the Port has somehow found its way into wine cellars in Europe and South America. 
In 1990 the beautiful Southeast-facing vineyards produced their first vintage which was released in 1995. By 1992 the vineyards were nearing their prime -- and Raymond Burr’s health was failing. At a time when he could have legitimately retired to “watch his garden grow,” he made -- primarily to protect his 200+ film crew -- three more of the two-hour Perry Mason television films and found time to watch, to protect, to nurture the splendid grapes, time to confer with the winemaker, to taste from the barrels the 1992 vintage, and, finally, a few days before his passing, to watch the harvest. 
By some coincidence, and not a little skill, the Raymond Burr Cabernets are very like the man; big, full of gusto, complex and jubilantly alive. In a television documentary that he had made about Sonoma County wines, he remarked that “....probably one of the most important things in a vineyard are the footprints of the grower between the rows...” And if those big, wide-paced footprints are actually no longer visible in the earth, they are imprinted certainly in the memories, and hearts, of the vineyard people. 
POSTSCRIPT: Raymond Burr planned to call the endeavor (in Portuguese) - A Quinta dos Dois Amigos (The Farm of Two Friends). But Benevides, his partner, colleague and companion of 33 years, after much struggle and thought, decided that, in this case, the parallels of man and wine could not be separated; it is not so much a memorial to Raymond Burr as it is his living, breathing presence.

Our Vineyard
Pioneer woman winemaker, Phyllis Zouzounis came to Raymond Burr Vineyards at the beginning of the 2006 grape harvest. The terraced hillside, along with the soil and temperatures of the Raymond Burr benchland estate enticed Phyllis to this special spot. 
Phyllis is not new to the Dry Creek Valley. She began her winemaking career working at Dry Creek Vineyard in 1980. After 15 years of experience there she moved on as winemaker and general manager of another Dry Creek winery just down the road, Mazzocco Vineyards. In 1987 Phyllis and her partner, Jim Penpraze, started their own Dry Creek winery, Deux Amis, making award winning Zinfandels. 
Zouzounis believes grapes grown in the Dry Creek Valley can produce high quality wines. The 100% estate grown vineyards at Raymond Burr offer her the challenge to produce great Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and rich, fruity Chardonnay. "Great wine starts in the vineyard with quality grapes. The Raymond Burr vineyard is a good example of this," she will tell you. "Because it is an estate vineyard winery, this allows Raymond Burr Vineyards to create and preserve the quality in the vineyard first and then follow through to the finished wine." 
Phyllis Zouzounis is a great believer in balance. "My focus is balance. Balance of the vine, balance of the fruit and balance in the wine."
Our Staff
Robert Benevides
Phyllis Zouzounis
Francisco Baptista
Supervisor & Events Planner
Jorge Garcia
Our Winemaker's Bio
Phyllis Zouzounis, born and raised in San Francisco, was the first in her family to enter the wine field. She had followed her husband to Sonoma County and was taking classes at Santa Rosa Junior College. "That gave me the impetus to look for work in the wine industry, but I didn't want an office job. I wanted to be in the production end, and at that time - 1980 - no one was hiring women to work in the cellar."  
When Dave Stare offered her a job in the tasting room, with the promise to move her into a cellar job in a few months, she jumped at the opportunity. By harvest time of 1980 she was a full time cellar worker. During her 14 years at Dry Creek Vineyard, she advanced to cellar master and then assistant winemaker.  
In 1993, a friend who was winemaker at Mazzocco Vineyards told Phyllis she was moving out of the area and suggested her job would be a great one for Phyllis. It seemed perfect to Phyllis, too. At that time it was a small winery and the winemaker's position was decidedly hands-on. At the end of 13 years the winery was no longer 'small' and Phyllis was the General Manager and winemaker and moving away from what she loved. During this period she was also producing award winning wines under her own label, Deux Amis, with her friend Jim Penpraze.  
With the 2006 harvest, Phyllis joined Raymond Burr Vineyards. The terraced hillside, along with the soil and temperatures of the Burr benchland estate enticed Phyllis to this special spot. She believes grapes grown well in this Dry Creek Valley location can produce high quality wines. Using only 100% estate grown fruit offers her the challenge to produce superb Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and a rich fruity Chardonnay. "Great wine starts in the vineyard with quality grapes. The Raymond Burr vineyard is a good example of this," she will tell you. "Because it is an estate vineyard winery, this allows us to create and preserve the quality in the vineyard first and then follow through to the finished wine."  
Phyllis Zounzounis is a great believer in balance. "My focus is balance. Balance of the vine, balance of the fruit and balance in the wine." 
Visit Us
Have you tried a visit to the friendliest tasting room this side of the Mississippi? Have you been to the winery that CONDE NAST TRAVELER contends “is a mandatory stop” along the California Wine Road? Did you realize that there is one tasting room that still has COMPLIMENTARY TASTING? 
Come visit us at Raymond Burr Vineyards and experience that warm, cozy feeling we all used to have when we woud go wine tasting years ago. Plus we have one of the best winemakers in the galaxy: PHYLLIS ZOUZOUNIS.  

“After leaving Clos du Bois, I headed into the backcountry. Well, not far. I drove only a few miles but ended up at a winery that is of a different and entirely pleasing world. Raymond Burr Vineyards encompasses everything that corporate wine-production cannot; in fact the road to the tasting room is one lane part of the way, too narrow to handle bulk wine carriers. The winery is a mandatory stop for anyone interested either in Raymond Burr’s life or in observing wine country as it used to be.”