Edna Valley – Islay Hill
“Flag of Spain (1785-1873 and 1875-1931)“ © HansenBCN 2009. From Wikimedia Commons
“Flag of Mexico(1823-1864 1867-1881)“ Public Domain. From Wikimedia Commons
Created By Aimee Armour-Avant
The Edna Valley was the first AVA to be granted in 1982 in San Luis Obispo County. It is unique for its terroir and long growing season.
The history of the soil stretches back millions of years. Sea levels rose as glaciers melted at the end of the Ice Age, 18,000 years ago. The rich marine sediment deposited in the valley was formed over 25 million years ago and includes fossils of tiny marine animals and shells. Fourteen ancient volcanoes stretching from below sea level (under the Davidson Seamount, recognized as a pristine undersea mountain habitat off the coast) in the Pacific Ocean west of Morro Bay to the Edna Valley, south east of San Luis Obispo, have been eroding over millennia. These ancient volcanoes contribute tufa, a porous rock composed of calcium carbonate, downgraded granite and volcanic ash to the alluvial mix of soil. The oceanic and volcanic soils are characterized today by black humus, loam and clay. The total area of the AVA is approximately 22,400 acres.
The maritime influence is powerful in the Edna Valley, more dominant than that of any region along the Pacific Coast. The transverse valley has moderate sunshine and cool maritime fog which flows south east with the cool Pacific Ocean breezes from Morro Bay into the Edna Valley. A phenomenon known as the Pismo Venturi effect clears the evening fog from the valley. The climate provides the longest growing season in California. This extended growing season provides for later harvest dates than other AVAs in the county and contributes to the complex flavors of the premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes that are unique manifestations of the Edna Valley terroir.
Grape Varieties Grown
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were the first grapes to bring fame to the Edna Valley for their quality and flavor in the 1970s. The Judgment of Paris in 1976 established California Chardonnay as a wine equal to the finest in France. The Edna Valley became the source for quality Chardonnay grapes throughout California. Gradually additional grape varieties have been planted including Albarino, Grenache, Lagrein, Merlot, Mourvedre, Petite Syrah, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Teroldego and Viognier in the Edna Valley.
Early Spanish and Mexican History
Alta California (now known as California) was a province formally established in 1804 and controlled by Spain. Spain established missions, forts, pueblos and presidios to colonize the province along the Pacific Coast. The Spanish crown also granted 30 concessions (land to occupy) to retired military officers and soldiers to encourage them to remain in Alta California. These concessions were granted between 1750 and 1810. The ownership was not permanent; the concessions of land were returned to the Spanish government when the recipient died.
Mexico controlled Alta California as a territory from 1822 to 1846 after winning the Mexican War of Independence against Spain. In 1833, Article 1 of the decree of the Mexican Congress on the 17th of August stated “all missions must be secularized.” The secularization took place in 1834 and mission lands were then included in the process of issuing land grants to specific male individuals. The Mexican government had a different policy than the Spanish crown; the Mexican governor of Alta California issued about 270 land grants between 1833 and 1846 to native-born and naturalized citizens who converted to Catholicism and who were loyal to the newly independent government in Mexico. These land grants were much larger in size than the Spanish concessions of earlier times. The land grants came with permanent unencumbered rights of ownership. They were at least two square leagues (around 14 square miles in size), and were located throughout California. Each land grant is titled as a rancho. These ranchos have formed the land use patterns throughout California. The land development in the twentieth century in San Luis Obispo County often follows the former boundaries of these ranchos; their names are attached to specific areas such as Rancho Corral de Piedra in the Edna Valley.
Rancho Corral de Piedra, a 30,911-acre parcel (two square leagues) including what is now called the Edna Valley, was granted by Governor Juan B. Alvarado to José Maria Villavicencio in 1841. Five additional leagues were granted in 1846 by Mexican Governor Pio Pico. José had served as Captain of the militia at Monterey, California. He also served as the Administrator of two California missions founded by the Spanish Franciscans: Mission San Antonio in Central California and Mission San Fernando in Southern California.
Rancho Corral de Piedra
After the Mexican American War, Mexico signed the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which stated that Mexican land grants would be honored by the United States. José filed a claim for Rancho Corral de Piedra with the Public Land Commission as required by the California Land Act of 1851 which had established a three-member Public Land Commission to determine the validity of prior Spanish and Mexican land grants.. This particular land grant was patented to José in 1867. However, José was no longer living. He died in 1853 and left his rancho to his seven children. His wife and children were poor. The drought of California in 1863-1864 was severe; no rain fell in California that season and as a result, the cattle starved and crops failed. José’s widow had to borrow money from her brother, Jacinto Rodriguez, to survive. In a complex transaction, the widow and children transferred the deed to their Rancho for payment of their debts of $4,000 plus interest owed to their uncle, Jacinto Rodriguez in 1864. The value of the rancho at that time was estimated to be around $20,000.
Jacinto in turn leased the land to dairyman George Steele and his two brothers Edgar W. and Isaac C. and cousin Rensselaer E. Steele in 1866 for a five year term with a right to purchase the property for $25,000 in gold at the end of the agreement in 1871. The Steele brothers, George and Edgar, took possession of the property, started building structures, and stocked the land with cattle. The Villavicencio family (Villa family as they became known) were allowed to live in the old adobe ranch house with 50 acres of pasture for their horses and garden. The five sons of the Villa family were employed by Steele Brothers to haul timber, build fences and construct buildings according to the terms of the lease. These activities increased the value of the land to an estimated $30,000.
In 1867, the year in which the patent for the Grant was issued to Jose Villavicencio, his heirs were advised the transfer of the deed to their rancho to their uncle “might not” have been a legal transaction. The heirs filed a lawsuit in 1870 known as Villa v. Rodriguez, 79 U.S. (12 Wall.) 323 323(1870) which was litigated for years until it was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. Ultimately the case was decided by the court, the Steele brothers had to pay a $150,000 judgment, the heirs regained possession of their land grant and sold six-sevenths of the Rancho to George Steele in 1871.
The Steele Brothers
The wealthy Steele brothers, George and Edgar, were known as dairymen from San Mateo County and Marin counties. They were sons of a New York banker and had been raised in upstate New York. They bought four ranchos south of the city of San Luis Obispo: Corral de Piedra, El Pismo, Bolsa Chamisal and Arroyo Grande for $50,000 (an estimated $1,10 per acre) by 1871. The Steele brothers were the first to establish the dairy industry in the Edna Valley. They brought 600 cows onto the land and hired over 100 men to run their five dairy farms and creameries. They became well-known for their cheese production, the largest in the county. Their success attracted many dairymen of Swiss Italian descent including farmers Moretti, Stornetta, Piletti, Righetti and Monighetti. The Steeles also farmed the ranchos growing grain, and running cattle. They raised riding, carriage and work horses. Racing horses was a sport enjoyed during the rancho period from 1822 to 1846. The sport continued to be enjoyed throughout the nineteenth century. George Steele was known for his love of horses; he raced them with his colleagues.
The Edna Valley Township (Old Edna)
The Edna Valley township was founded within the Mexican land grant for Rancho Corral de Piedra in the 1840s. No one knows where the name “Edna” originated. It was a popular name for women at the time. Since its founding this small township has been a stagecoach stop, and the location of two saloons, a slaughter house and butcher shop, a cheese factory, the Blacksmith shop, two general mercantile stores, the post office, hotels and homesteads, a dance hall, an antique shop, performance space artist studios, and wine tasting rooms.
The Steele brothers built a cheese shop and a slaughterhouse on the property before Lynford Maxwell, a widower with three small children, became the first postmaster of Old Edna in 1887. He set up the local post office in the same building occupied by Tipton’s Butcher Shop. The Maxwell Hotel and Livery and the Rice & Miller Blacksmith Shop occupied the old town. Maxwell purchased additional property from the Steele brothers in the hopes of establishing a town he hoped to name “Maxwellton” but it did not materialize. He was forced to declare bankruptcy, however his son Eugene was able to take possession of the land. Lynford died around 1900.
John Tognazzini arrived at the Old Edna township in 1899. John was of Swiss-Italian descent, born in Someo, Switzerland in 1854. In 1871 he emigrated to Northern California where he worked on various ranches and in the dairy industry in Sonoma County. He moved first to Cayucos in San Luis Obispo County and then to Guadalupe in Santa Barbara County before returning to Switzerland in 1892 where he married Ricilla Ferrari on April 25th. The couple settled in the Edna Valley where John built a wooden two-story building in the township and two homesteads. In 1900 he opened a general merchandise store which burned to the ground shortly thereafter. He built the tin and wood building visitors still enjoy today around 1907. Over the years it housed the new Tognazzini General Store, a Dance Hall and the Post Office. Tognazzini purchased a total of 126 acres in the Edna Valley and established his own dairy. Many dairies were established nearby at the turn of the twentieth century. Some were later converted to wineries. Today in 2022, Tognazzini’s two story tin and wood building houses the Sextant Winery tasting room and delicatessen owned and operated by Craig and Nancy Stoller.
1930-40s: The Winkler-Amertine Study of the Edna Valley Wine Region
In the 1930s, two professors at the University of California at Davis – Albert Winkler and Maynard Amerine – conducted comprehensive studies in California wine regions to categorize them by heat-summation zones. As a result of their calculations they developed a scale of five regions ranging in daily temperatures from cool to hot. By defining the regions, the professors felt they could determine which grape varieties were best suited to grow in each region.By 1944 that scale was known as the Winkler Scale or Winkler Index. According to this Index, the Edna Valley is a low Region II – the same as Sonoma County, California or the Asti region in Piedmont, Italy. Therefore in their opinion, certain varieties of grapes could be grown in the Edna Valley. However, no grapes were planted there until 1968.
1940s: New owners purchase the Edna Valley Township
Two families, the Wendts and the Ahearns bought the Edna Valley Township from the Tognazzini family and built several homes in the area which attracted more investors and farmers. One of the streets where homes were built was named Maxwellton Street in honor of the first postmaster. These families owned the property for over 50 years.
Among the many characters who occupied the old tin two story building at the heart of the Old Edna Township was Dan Dugan, an antique dealer with a passion for collecting old bottles. He opened his antique business in 1948; his reputation lingers as a “scary man” who instilled fear in the hearts of the children growing up around the township.
1950s and 1960s: Arabian Horses in the Pastures of the Edna Valley
Jay W. Stream was born in Churdan, Iowa on April 17, 1921. He loved the Midwest and was raised in Wheaton, Illinois on a farm with a dairy herd and 65 horses. He attended the University of Southern California on a football scholarship but withdrew to enlist in the Army Air Corps at the outbreak of World War II. He became a bomber pilot and survived the war. His career started at John Hancock Insurance Company but he ultimately founded his own business known as Durable Construction Company. He developed residential and shopping center sites, His most innovative project, “Carolstream” combined residential living with the industrial workplace. He and his family had a passion for Arabian horses. Jay retired to become President of the International Arabian Horse Association in 1967 and served for 30 years. This passion brought Jay to the Edna Valley, with its long tradition of almost 200 years of horsemanship.
Jay and his wife, Dorothy, purchased land in the Edna Valley that was once a dairy farm and founded Greengate Farms, one of the largest and most successful Arabian Horse Farms in the world. World class Arabian horse events were held on the farm; horsemen, celebrities and luminaries from the Middle East visited this renowned property over the years. The Stream family occupied the property from the 1950s until 2012. Jay died on January 22, 2006.
This beautiful property, now known as Greengate Ranch and Vineyards, has been beautifully restored by a local business man and is located on the original site, now reduced to 140 acres. It is a site for weddings, events and vacation rentals. Vineyards have been planted on the site which produce grapes for local winemakers.
Some Jay and Dorothy’s orginal holdings include the properties known to us as today La Lomita, Edna Ranch vineyards, the Center of Effort winery, Kynsi Winery, Tiffany Ranch and the Stone Corral vineyards.
1968: The First Grapes are Planted in the Edna Valley
The first Experimental Vineyard was planted in 1968 in the Edna Valley on the Righetti Avocado Ranch in the foothills north of Orcutt Road. John (Jack) Foott, employed at UC Davis as the agricultural adviser to San Luis Obispo County, planted four grape varieties to determine if the terroir was suitable for growing grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were planted in four trellised rows of 12 vines each in 1968. There is no evidence that grape vines and vineyards were planted in the Edna Valley prior to 1968. The local Mission San Luis Obispo vineyards were planted adjacent to the mission in the late 1700s.
1972: The First Harvest in the Experimental Vineyard
What is important for our local Edna Valley wine history is that Jack Foott harvested all four varieties on September 6, 1972. They were driven directly to UC Davis where the grapes were pressed and wine was made from each variety. This research established that Pinot Chardonnay grapes and Pinot Noir grapes grown in the Edna Valley produced good quality wines.
1973: Second Harvest in the Experimental Vineyard
There was a second harvest in 1973. Both Pinot Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were harvested on September 17 in the Experimental Vineyard. The Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested two weeks later on October 2, 1973.The Pinot Blanc was not harvested. The conclusion: Pinot Chardonnay and Pinot Noir could be grown successfully in the Edna Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon required a warmer climate region to ripen fully, therefore planting Cabernet Sauvignon vines was not recommended nor was Pinot Blanc.
Norman Goss & Family
Catherine & John Niven
1973: Two Commercial Growers Plant the First Vineyards
The first two commercial vineyards were planted in the Edna valley by Norman Goss, founder of Chamisal Vineyards and John and Catherine Niven, founders of Paragon Vineyards. Both families consulted with experts at UC Davis and Fresno State to determine where to purchase land in 1972 for their vineyards. Both families hired viticulturalists to prepare the vineyards, install irrigation, select the appropriate clones and plant the vines in 1973. Neither family built a winery at the time. Although they had carefully planned for their vineyard production, neither family had developed a plan for how to sell the grapes.
1970: Edna Valley: Five Vineyards and One Winery
Experimental Vineyard: planted in 1968 by viticulturist Jack Foott with grapes harvested in 1972 and 1973.
Chamisal Vineyards: 57 acres planted in 1973, the focus was on the single variety Chardonnay, planted in the Burgundian style. Norman Goss, proprietor, Uriel Nielson, vineyardist. Grapes sold to California winemakers.
Paragon Vineyard Company: 545 acres planted in 1973 and 1974. Jack and Catherine Niven proprietors, Jim Efird vineyardist. First harvest in 1977 produced two varieties: a Chardonnay that became a collector’s item under the Chaparral label and a Burgundian Pinot Noir. Grapes were sold to California winemakers and attracted Dick Graff, propertor of Chalone winery in Monterey County
MacGregor Vineyard: 11 acres planted in 1974. Ten acres were planted to Chardonnay and one to Pinot Noir. Later, the entire vineyard was grafted to Pinot Noir. Viticulturist Andy MacGregor. This vineyard is sometimes referred as the Price Canyon vineyard.
MacGregor Vineyard: 34 acres planted to Chardonnay in 1976. Viticulturist Andy MacGregor.
Lawrence Winery: Established in 1979 by Jim Lawrence, Don Burns and Herman Dryer, this winery was designed to produce 250,000 cases annually plus a bulk wine business. The California mission style architecture reflected the land history of the Rancho Pedro de Coralles land grant. There were no vineyards planted on the property. Grapes were sourced from Central California. Jim Lawrence was the winemaker; he produced over 20 wines in the first vintage. His wines won multiple awards in international competitions, more than any other winery producing white table wines. He produced unusual varietals including Gewurztraminer Rosé and Chardonnay “Nouveau.”
1980: Edna Valley: Seven Vineyards and Seven Wineries
Introduction: Edna Valley Chardonnay is recognized as the top wine for the first time in blind tasting events held in three cities in 1982. The event is hosted by Steve Spurrier and wine writer Robert Finigan features French and California Chardonnays. Out of the eight Chardonnays in the competition, the Edna Valley Chardonnay produced from grapes grown in the Paragon Vineyard ties for first with the 1979 Trefethen Chardonnay from Napa Valley.
In 1982 the Edna Valley AVA is approved.
Chamisal Vineyards: 57 acres planted in 1973, focus on single variety Chardonnay. Norman Goss, proprietor, Uriel Nielson, vineyardist.
Chamisal Winery: Small winery built in the vineyard. Norman Goss, proprietor, Tom Goss, vineyardist, Allyn Goss, sales and marketing, Scott Boyd winemaker. First crush – September 1980. The 5,000 case winery is designed based on the great chateau of France, growing their own Chardonnay grapes on their estate and making one Chardonnay varietal wine per year.
Claiborne and Churchill: Claiborne Thompson and Frederika Churchill founders in 1983, Claiborne Thompson winemaker. They specialize in dry versions of traditionally soft-sweet Riesling and Gewurztraminer using an old style winemaking technique from the Alsace region of France which borders Germany. Grapes are sourced from vineyards in cool climates of Edna Valley and Monterey County.
Corbett Canyon Winery (formerly Lawrence Winery): Purchased in 1981 by Glenmore Distilleries, proprietors, Cary Gott is both President and winemaker. Grapes are sourced from premium vineyards in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. Gott produces three distinct lines of wine: the Coast Classic is marketed in 1-liter bottles unique to Corbett Canyon Winery, varietal wines are released in 1984 and Winemakers Reserve is released in 1986.
Edna Valley Vineyard and Winery: unique partnership established in 1980 between Paragon Vineyards which built the winery and maintained the vineyards and Chalone Winery which made the wine and handled operations and marketing. Edna Valley Winery, based on a similar design of the Chalone Winery, is completed in 1981 by the Niven family. Winemakers: Gary Mosby 1981- 1986, Stephen Ross Dooley is hired in 1987. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Noir Blanc are produced. Winemaking is Burgundian style with barrel fermentation of Chardonnay and minimal handling of Pinot Noir. Richard Graff, founder of Chalone Winery, is in charge of operations and marketing.
MacGregor Vineyard: MacGregor Vineyard: 11 acres, 10 planted in 1974 to Chardonnay and one to Pinot Noir. All 11 acres were later grafted to Pinot Noir. It is sometimes referred as the Price Canyon vineyard. Viticulturist Andy MacGregor. Viticulturist and winemaker Meo Zuech.
MacGregor Vineyard: MacGregor Vineyard: 34 acres planted to Chardonnay in 1976. The acreage was increased to 55 acres, all planted to Chardonnay – date unknown. It is sometimes referred to as the Orcutt vineyard. Viticulturist Andy MacGregor and winemaker Meo Zuech. Meo Zuech planted Italian varieties Legrein and Teroldego in the 1980s.
Orcutt Road Cellars Winery: Jack and Catherine Niven proprietors. The Baileyana Label named by Catherine Niven and established in 1989. Christian Roguenaut is hired as winemaker in 1998. Paragon Vineyard Company: 545 acres planted in 1973 and 1974. Jack and Catherine Niven proprietors, Jim Efird viticulturist. Paragon leased an additional 180 acres from the Righetti family (date unknown).
Piedra Creek Winery: Romeo and Margaret Zuech proprietors. Piedra Creek Winery is bonded in 1984 becoming the smallest bonded winery in the Edna Valley. Meo builds a small garage size building and purchases most of his equipment from Italy. The first vintage of 500 cases is produced in 1985 with Chardonnay grapes sourced from Andy MacGregor’s vineyard. The wine bottle label is a modified version of the crest from Meo’s home town of Bolzano, Italy located in the Alto Adige/Trentino Alps of Northeastern Italy.
Salaal Vineyard: land purchased in 1988. Proprietor Robert Schiebelhut.
Tiffany Hill Vineyard: 3 ½ acres vineyard founded in 1981 by Catherine Niven. Catherine was the first woman to plant her own vineyard. She planted her vineyard in the old Burgundian style in the Edna Valley and the first woman and member of the Niven family to design her own brand of Burgundian Chardonnay under the Tiffany Hill Label.She named it based on the street on which she lived which faced the vineyard in her front yard.She also produced Sparkling wine from Chardonnay. A lawsuit from Tiffany Jewelry Stores forced a name change of her brand to Baileyana. First vintage under the Tiffany Hill label was produced at Edna Valley Vineyard in 1984 by Gary Mosby. The 1987 vintage was produced by Stephen Dooley. The 1988, 1989 and 1990 vintages were produced by Gary Mosby in in Santa Barbara County.
Windemere Winery: founded in 1985 by proprietor Cathy MacGregor, one of the first woman winemakers in San Luis Obispo County. The name Windemere is the name of the MacGregor’s ancestral village in Scotland. Her flagship wine is Windemere Chardonnay. Grapes are sourced from her father Andy MacGregor’s Price Canyon Vineyard.
1980: Artists settle into the Edna Valley Township
Many artists and artisans have had studios in the old two story building but the late 1970s and 1980s are remembered for the talents of two special painters. Frederick Holley, a friend of Pattea Torrance’s brother Del, arrived from Amsterdam. His studio was on the second floor where he created colorful and vivacious paintings. He often performed on the stage there. He parked his beautiful blue Packard, known as the Blue Rose, under the iconic pepper tree to let his friends know that he was at home and ready to receive friends. Pattea Torrance and her family visited there often and she holds many fond memories.
Tracy Taylor moved into Old Edna Township with her five children in the 1980s. She was an accomplished watercolorist and established her studio on the second floor. She taught art classes to adults and children and was much beloved by the community.
1990s Edna Valley: Vineyards and Wineries – Highlights
This is a decade of great change in the Edna Valley which will be discussed in much more detail in an article to be published in the fall of 2022. Here is a brief summary:
1990: The Edna Valley Arroyo Grande Valley Vintners and Growers Association is founded to market regional wines.
Wineries were sold to new owners:
1994: Norman Goss, founder of Chamisal Vineyard dies. Terry Speizer purchases the vineyard which as been dormant for several years.
1999: Jean-Pierre and Elke Wolff purchases the Andy McGregor Vineyard at 6238 Orcutt Road and additional acreage totaling 125 acres. They renamed the vineyard, Wolff Vineyards, and built an artisan winery. By 2022 the vineyard is planted to 53 acres of Chardonnay, 34 acres of Pinot Noir, and 14 acres planted to Teroldego, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Riesling. It is a family owned winery with their sons Clint and Mark working full time with their parents.
New wineries were established:
1990: Orcutt Cellars Winery is founded by the Niven family on Orcutt Road.
1994: Terry Speizer purchases Chamisal Vineyard, founded by Norm Goss. Terry, a former Silicon valley electronics entrepreneur, renames the enterprise Domaine Alfred Winery, replants the vineyard with clones of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, four types of Syrah, clones of Grenache and Pinot Gris.
1995: Claiborne and Churchill Winery founded by Clay Thompson and Fredericka Churchill in 1983 builds the first rice straw bale winery in California with sixteen-inch walls which provide insulation that maintains a constant temperature, eliminating the cost of mechanical heating and cooling. The new winery building opens on January 31, 1996.
1995: Don and Gwen Othman found the Kynsi Winery at 2212 Corbett Canyon Road. The winery is established in a 1940s era Dairy Barn. Don Othman is the inventor of the Bulldog Pup, a gas-pressure racking device to gently move wine from the barrel to bottling tank using an inert gas which protects the wine from oxygenation and agitation. The first gas racking wand was fabricated for and tested at the Edna Valley Vineyard in 1985. This tool has revolutionized the movement of wine, beer and spirits in the cellar. Kynsi produces Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merrah, Zinfandel and Pinot Blanc.
1998: The Independence Schoolhouse, a one room school house built in the early 1900s, closed in 1956. The Niven family renovate the building and gardens located at 5828 Orcutt Road in1998 as a tasting room featuring their Baileyana wines.
1998: Courtside Cellars establishes a Custom Crush facility doing business as Tolosa. First vintage of Tolosa wine produced at the facility. Proprietors: Bob Schiebelhut, Robin Baggett and Jim Efird. Winemaker: Stephen Ross Dooley.
Many vineyards are planted including:
Edna Ranch Vineyard: Proprietor: Bob Schiebelhut. Viticulturalists Jim Efird, followed by George Donati. It consists of six sections with 60 soil types and many microclimates that together produce a remarkable variety of terroirs. Dates not yet confirmed. Eventually three parsels were purchased totaling 532 acres.
In 1991 226 acres were planted on both sides of Orcutt Road. 220 were planted to Chardonnay and 6 to Pinot Noir. In 1998 225 acres were planted to Pinot Noir, 56 to Chardonnay 8 to Viognier, 5 to Grenache, 7 to Pinot Gris and 5 to Petit Sirah. Grapes are sold to Tolosa.
Firepeak Vineyard is established in the mid-1990s by the Niven Family. Grapes are grown for the Baileyana label. Wines are produced by winemaker Christian Roguenant.
Moretti Canyon Vineyard planted 42 acres in 1999. Proprietor Barbara Baggett. Grapes are sold to Tolosa.
Saalal Vineyard (Biddle Road at Orcutt) 56 acres planted in 1998, 24 acres to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and 32 acres to Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc. Proprietor: Bob Schiebelhut. Vineyard is named for this three daughter: Sarah, Laura, and Alison. Grapes are sold to Tolosa.
San Floriano Vineyard is planted in the Twin Creeks area of the Edna Valley by Meo and Margaret Zuech. They plant the Italian varieties Lagrein and Teroldego, Dornfelder, Pinot Noir and Syrah.
Tolosa Vineyards plant 100 acres in 1998. Proprietor Robin Baggett.
1990s: Fire devastates Old Edna
In the 1990s, the property caught fire and Tracy moved with her family. The property gradually fell into disrepair as it ages.
The 21st Century
Pattea Torrance acquires the Old Edna property in 2000 from the Ahearn and Wendt families and their investors. Pattea and her husband restore each building with a special attention to the original architecture and gardens. They sold it in 2019 to Craig and Nancy Stoller who have continued to invest in the land and buildings, developing the tasting room to showcase their Sextant wines and rent the lovely homes to overnight guests. It has a lovely outside picnic area and is adjacent to the old MacGregor vineyards which they ad leased and purchased at an earlier date.
The Wine History Project is focusing on the history of the Edna Valley and will be posting additional research in the fall of 2022. If you can assist us with any information, personal reminiscences or photographs, please contact us at Libbie@winehistoryproject.org or Cindy@winehistoryproject.org.
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