Downtown Geyserville’s transformation keeps getting better.
New businesses are moving in to renovate and occupy spaces that have been dormant. The most recent to join the tightly-knit community of local businesses is Bannister Wines, which opened the doors to their new tasting room in the historic vault space formerly occupied by Meeker wines in late June.
Among the many interesting things about this opening is the fact that though Bannister Wines has been around since the late ’80s, and is run by a fourth generation Sonoma County family, the winery has remained almost unknown to the general public, due to never having a tasting room and focusing almost exclusively on wholesale. This changed shortly after Marty Bannister handed the reins to son Brook Bannister, who retired from his artisan furniture making career to keep the family business alive.
After taking the reins, Brook Bannister realized that having a place to connect with customers and pour the wines was going to be an essential part of Bannister’s business moving forward. He started by meeting with customers for tastings in a tent at his vineyards, while saving to open a space.
While the brand has historically produced and been known for elegant, balanced pinot noirs and chardonnays from Sonoma County, Brook Bannister has brought his own style and taste to it. He has added unique, rarely seen varietals and wines to the portfolio, including Scheurebe, skin-contact (orange) Riesling, Sagrantino and Ribolla Gialla. The current wine list also includes five pinot noirs from different vineyard sites.
Bannister and his wife, Morgania, have also brought their passion for natural materials and handcrafted art to the new tasting room, working with the original architectural elements and incorporating their own design. From the hand-crafted, modern furniture made with salvaged wood and custom fabric, to the giant paper-maché light fixtures (designed by Morgania) and the historic bank teller counter and vault (built over a century ago), the new space is open and modern while still maintaining an historic charm. The business will also feature artwork and host artist shows spotlighting a series of different artists throughout the year.
Bannister offers guests a number of tasting options, including wines by the glass, wine flights and guided tastings paired with cheese and charcuterie. Reservations are recommended. but walk-ins are welcome. The tasting room’s hours are 12pm to 7pm Thursday through Monday, though staff regularly stay open later when the space is full.
Bannister Wines, 21035 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville. bannisterwines.com