The Heritage Mission Vines in the Paul Fountain Vineyard – Cal Poly

After two suspenseful years, retired viticulturist Jim Efird and WHP Director Libbie Agran, were reunited with 28 vibrant Mission Grape Vines on the morning of April 7th. We are grateful to Dr. Jean C. Dodson Peterson, Associate Professor of Viticulture at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and the Wonderful Nurseries in Wasco, California, for working with us to establish these vines on their own rootstock. Twelve additional Mission Grape Vines were gifted by the Wine History Project to the Viticulture Department to plant in the Paul Fountain Student Vineyard at Cal Poly. The Wine History Project (WHP)donated $10,000 to help fund the design/build of a trellis to provide a shady place for viticulture students to gather. The WHP will design educational panels on the origins of the vines and early California viticulture practices for the site.

A Stone Wall Surrounds the New Heritage Vineyard at the Dana Adobe

Complementing the historic architecture of the Dana Adobe, built in 1840, a rectangular wall has been constructed near the olive grove to enclose the new Heritage Mission Grape Vineyard and protect the historic grapes from local wildlife. The design incorporates unique native stone donated to the Dana Adobe for this project. Please contact Lexi at the Dana Adobe in Nipomo to make your donations of time, cash or equipment. ( We welcome volunteers to help us maintain the vineyard and harvest grapes in the future.

The vineyard will provide a beautiful space for celebrations, relaxation and other events. It will also tell the story of early viticultural practices in San Luis Obispo County as we continue to farm the vines. In the near future, the Wine History Project will install educational panels highlighting the origins of the Mission Grape, early California viticulture practices and winemaking during the Spanish period (1518 – 1822) and the Mexican or Rancho period (1822 – 1846) in San Luis Obispo County.

Planting the Mission Grapevines

Twenty-eight vines were planted on Thursday, April 28 in the new vineyard by Jim Efird and his grandson, Hudson Mickey, with volunteer Rod Gross following a prolonged battle with those gophers and their descendants who had staked out their territory in underground burrows over the last two decades. Don Campbell donated the 50-year-old redwood stakes to support the vines.

A Short History of the origin of these Mission Grapevines

The original mission grape cuttings, which share their DNA with the “mother” Mission grapevine planted by the Franciscan padres in the 18th century at Mission San Gabriel in Southern California, were propagated by archaeologist Mike Imwalle at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation and Dana Adobe volunteer Len Hoskins. They were gifted to the Wine History Project of San Luis Obispo County and transferred to UC Davis for testing.  When the cuttings received a clean bill of health, they were transferred to CalPoly University and the Department of Viticulture under the care of Assistant Dr. Jean C. Dodson Peterson, The vines were propagated at the Wonderful Nurseries.

Nick Wilkinson, founder of Grow Nursery and Botanica, is working on the garden design surrounding the wall, the propagation of cacti, native plants and succulents to further protect the vineyard from wildlife and to provide the public with remarkable beauty, a link to local botanical history. Local gardeners and members of the Cactus and Succulent Society will be helping volunteers at the Dana Adobe propagate plants for the garden.

Jim Efird planting Mission Grape Vines Heritage Vineyard at the Dana Adobe

Jim Efird Planting Mission Grape Vines Heritage Vineyard At The Dana Adobe

Jim Efird and his grandson planting the Heritage Vineyard at the Dana Adobe

Jim Efird And His Grandson Planting The Heritage Vineyard At The Dana Adobe 

iticulture Committee Dana Adobe Heritage Mission Grape Vineyard

Viticulture Committee Dana Adobe Heritage Mission Grape Vineyard: Rod Gross, Garett Dana, Jim Corridan, Jim Efird,  Len Hoskins, Libbie Agran

Mission Grape Thriving against 60 year old redwood stake donated by Don Campbell

Mission Grape Thriving Against 60-Year-Old Redwood Stake Donated By Don Campbell 

Vineyard Wall under construction May 9, 2022

Vineyard Wall Under Construction May 9, 2022 

Vineyard Wall with temporary gate Dana Adobe May 2022

Vineyard Wall With Temporary Gate Dana Adobe May 2022 

Laying out the Vineyard- 22 vines - May 2022

Laying Out The Vineyard- 22 vines – May 2022 

Dana Adobe

Dana Adobe 

Dana Adobe Viticulture Committee - November 2021

Dana Adobe Viticulture Committee – November 2021: Rod Gross, Jim Efird, Len Hoskins, Don Campbell, Randy Heinzen With Mission Vine Propagated By Len