Bucher Vineyard

5293 Westside Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448


Open: March through November

About five miles out Westside Road I turn right at a white fence with a Clover Stornetta sign announcing "Bucher Farms." I continue up the driveway past a couple of barns and the farm office until I find John Bucher who welcomes me, ushering me into a small home on the property where I sit down with John's parents, Joe and Annemarie.

I have come because there is history here. Joe and Annemarie immigrated to California from Luzern (Lucerne), Switzerland in the 1950s. Born in 1929, Joe came from a family of dairy farmers in the tiny town of Inwil, ten minutes from Luzern. Joe grew up during World War II in Europe. Although Switzerland's main goal was to remain neutral and stay out of fighting, many of Joe's teachers enlisted in the Swiss Army to protect Switzerland's border with Germany after Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.

"I was in the fourth grade," Joe tells me. "Our teachers left immediately and we grew up with substitutes--mostly untrained. Our farm helpers also left. Even our horses were drafted to pull cannons, etc., so we had to train bulls and oxen to do the farm work."

"Our families were friends in Inwil," Annemarie adds. "My dad, the town postmaster, also went to guard the border. We only rode bikes in Inwil and went everywhere on them. I recall helping Dad deliver the express mail at night."

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