Your Passport to Italy
A family-owned winery, deli and marketplace designed in the style of an Italian villa invites to you experience its warm hospitality and old-world traditions of Italy. And, the best part is…no passport required. Located in the town of Kenwood out in Sonoma Valley, VJB Cellars, has become a top destination for visitors both local and afar looking for a taste of Italy right here in California wine country. Once again rated #1 ‘Things To Do’ in Kenwood by Trip Advisor, the winery boasts an impressive collection of more than 20 Italian varietal wines – all sold exclusively from their tasting room and wine club.
The winery’s large central piazza (courtyard) is reminiscent of a quaint little village in southern Italy and plays host to a micro-collection of locally owned eateries and shopping nooks. The Red Rooster Pizza Kitchen tosses up fresh wood-fired pizzas daily along with the Italian sausage paninis, calzones, ribs, chicken skewers and more. The Wine Truffle Shop next door specializes in handcrafted, small-batch chocolates made using wines, couverture chocolate and local ingredients. Don’t miss the Tommy Bahama Boutique carrying current, trending fashions and be sure to check out the Kenwood Pasta Company where fresh semolina pasta is made daily in traditional Italian shapes. It’s the perfect companion to the line of sauces, pestos and tapenades created by winery matriarch Maria Belmonte. The pasta is sold bagged and ready to take home from La Cucina – a gourmet marketplace located inside the winery filled with a mouthwatering selection of imported Italian foods, cheeses, pantry items, sweets, espresso drinks and more.
Originally from Bonito in Campania region, winery owners Vittorio and Maria Belmonte, along with their son Henry, oversee all aspects of the operations for the winery and are dedicated to showcasing Italian varietals such as Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Nero d’Avola, Brunello and Primitivo as well as some lesser-seen grapes in California like Sagrantino, Aglianico, Fresia, Dolcetto and Negro Amaro. The vineyards and winemaking are managed by Vittorio, and his wife Maria leads the culinary team as Executive Chef creating menus for the deli and special tasting events. Owner and Proprietor, Henry Belmonte, works side by side daily with his parents to maintain the authentic Italian themes. You will see the family daily throughout the grounds welcoming new customers, locals and club members. The Belmonte family believes that great wine and delicious food should be experienced in the company of family and friends.
For more information on any of the VJB wines, shops, tastings or wine club memberships, visit their website vjbcellars.com.
Wine Country Wildfires Update
“We were extremely fortunate that the winery property, vineyards and most importantly, all of our employees, remained safe and were unharmed during the wildfires of early October. The property (thankfully) sustained no damage and all tasting activities resumed. However, the surrounding devastation across the valley has been heartbreaking. Our thoughts, well-wishes and support are with our winery neighbors and everyone who lost homes or businesses.
The Belmonte Family offers their sincere gratitude to the firefighters and first responders who worked incredibly hard and risked their lives throughout wine country to keep us all safe. We want Napa and Sonoma to get back to being the bustling hub of friendly faces that we all love it for. We are back to business as usual. We invite you to visit and experience our wine country hospitality!
—Mike Nicholls, VJB Tasting Room Manager