The Heritage Mission Vineyard planted on the original 37,888 acre rancho in Nipomo owned by Boston sea captain William Dana is thriving. Viticulturist Jim Efird, assisted by volunteers Len Hoskins and Rod Gross, reports that the vines have grown substantially in the last few months and require constant thinning, trimming and topping as we continue to form a proper head-trained vine. The vines are irrigated for 30 minutes every four days. Each vine has two emitters. The young vines, planted in April 2022, show no signs of moisture stress, disease, insect problems. Growth is so significant that no fertilization is planned. In addition to rows of vines, a beautiful trellis was built by volunteer Rudy Stowell this year and vines have been planted at each post. The vines are nearing the top of the posts as you can see in the photos.

The gophers and squirrels are no longer a problem thanks to the wonderful perches built just outside the vineyard walls for hawks and owls to survey the territory. The raptors and owls are keeping nature in balance. 

Jim reports that based on this year’s vineyard growth and the exponential growth of the single vine in the demonstration garden, we should complete the development and training of this vineyard by the end of the 2024 season. Jim does not expect a normal crop until 2025. 2024 will produce clusters but their numbers will be limited and the maturity of these clusters will likely be varied.

The vineyard is surrounded by a beautiful wall built in the style of the early 1800s with stones and plaster. As you walk around the vineyard you will discover fossils in the beautiful local stones donated by a neighboring farmer. We are awaiting a full report but a geologist tells us that the stones reveal an interesting geological history about the movement of fault in the earth in southern San Luis Obispo County.

The gates at all three entrances to the vineyard have been handcrafted and are stunning to see. Our next projects are to post educational panels to describe the origins of the Mission Grapes and the early winemaking techniques.

Around the vineyard, orchards are being planted as they would have been in the Captain’s time. We are also working with a landscape and plant expert to develop a garden with the local stones, native plants, and plants brought by the Spanish that are still thriving today. This garden and the orchards will be telling the story of the origin of agriculture in San Luis Obispo and much of California.

Many people have worked as volunteers and have contributed supplies and mucho dinero for this project. On behalf of the Wine History Project of San Luis Obispo County, I thank each of you with all my heart. 

Here are just a few of the supporters:

Educational Institutions

UC Davis Foundation Plant Services
California Polytechnic State University, Department of Wine & Viticulture – Benoit Lecat and Jean Dodson Peterson


Dana Adobe Board and Staff

Lexi Carreno, Jim Corridan, Garett Dana, Len Hoskins, Tara Machin, Bob Weiger, Rudy Stowell


Wine History Project

Libbie Agran and Cindy Lambert


Community Volunteers

Jim Efird, Don Campbell, Randy Heinzen, Rod Gross and Nick Wilkerson


Construction of the Vineyard Trellis and the Vineyard Gates

Rudy Stowell


Agricultural Business Support

Pacific Coast Farming, Erin Amaral
Wonderful Nurseries


Financial Supporters

Libbie Agran, Jim Corridan, Len Hoskins, Stephen Siemsen, Jill Brown, Peg Miller, Cyndi Runstrom, Donna Calif, Anne Stephens, Jim Glines, Anastacia Paulsey, Jon Gariboldi, Elizabeth Faricy, Elizabeth Wineman, Cynthia Renner, Scott Martin, Karen Morgan, Lynn Compton, R.J. Hansen, Deanna Texeira, Larry Meredith, Peggy Smith, Linda Reynoso, Shirley Ritter, Alex Sterling, Shirley Horacek, Helen Daurio Dubois, Bob Weiger, Bob Kump, Robert Huguenard, Brent Conatser