Junípero Serra

Franciscan Padres introduced the first European grape to the New World to make wine for the sacrament, drinking, and export. The art of winemaking and the rootstock that we now call the Mission Grape, belonging to the famed Vitis vinifera species of grapes, were brought to California by the Spaniards.

The grape, first known as Listan Prieto, arrived in Mexico around 1540 and was planted in what is now New Mexico in the 1620s. The Franciscan Padres planted grapevines at many of the missions they established along El Camino Real which wound from San Diego to Sonoma in Northern California. Eventually, vineyards grew at all the missions, from one acre at MIssion Santa Clara to 170 acres at Mission San Gabriel.


Fathers Junípero Serra, Juan Vizcaino, and Fernando Parrón establish Alta California’s first mission, Mission San Diego de Alcalá.


Mission San Gabriel Arcángel is established by Padres Pedro Benito Cambon and Angel Fernández de la Somera. The mission later becomes California Historical Landmark No. 158 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places: NPS-71000158.


The founding of the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa brings European settlement to the San Luis Obispo area. The mission later becomes California Historical Landmark No. 325.


Mission San Diego de Alcalá relocates six miles east close to the San Diego River due to lack of water and fertile soil. The mission later becomes California Historical Landmark No. 242.


The oldest California winery was established at Mission San Gabriel where the famous Trinity Vine, planted in 1775, flourished for over 150 years. Also known as the Mother Vine of California, cuttings from the vines at San Gabriel were planted throughout California. In 1861 a small segment of the original vine was transplanted to a site adjacent to the Mission and to Home of Ramona (or Ramona’s Inn). Its trellised branches once covered 10,000 square feet and were a popular gathering place. Portions of the original vine, named the Old Grapevine, can be viewed at what is now know as Grapevine Arbour Park.


The first layman wine grower of record was Governor Pedro Fages in Monterey. He first planted orchards and then added a vineyard in 1783.


Mission San Miguel Arcángel was established. The mission later becomes California Historical Landmark No. 326 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places: NPS-71000191.

Mission San Diego vineyards produced enough grapes for wine.