A great surge in vineyard expansion came in the coastal valleys around the San Francisco Bay area, in Sonoma, Napa, Alameda and Santa Clara which soon were accounting for more than half the state’s production of table wine. Zinfandel was the leading varietal in the surge.
Local historian, Ella Adams, writes about the immigrant pioneers of the 1880s who settled along Vineyard Canyon near San Miguel. These immigrants planted two to three acres of vineyards and made their own wine for personal use. There were no commercial wineries in this area in the 1880s. Ella Adams states: Sonie Ruher in the lower vineyard; the Chandre brothers, Seraphin Galliard, and George Messaro in the upper vineyard. They tended their two to three acres of non-irrigated vines to make wine for their own table or to offer to a thirsty neighbor. Some had earth-walled cellars under their homes, others dug in a bank or steep hillside to keep the wooden barrels at an even temperature. These places had their own small wineries, and the grapes were crushed by walking barefoot on them. Sometimes a more potent brew was made from the skins and seeds after the first pressing.” George Messaro sometimes sold a few gallons of wine to jerk-line teamsters who hauled wagons laden with grain from Parkfield to San Miguel. He would also sell wine when he peddled vegetables and fruits to the Stone Canyon Coal Mine Area.
California Wineries Established in the 1880s
Italian Swiss Colony in Sonoma
Korbel in Sonoma
Mt. La Salle (The Christian Brothers) in Napa
Brookside Vineyard Company of Guasti
Cresta Blanca in Alameda
Wente in Alameda
Concannon in Alameda
Italian Vineyards Company (I.V.C.) in San Bernadino (later Garetett and Company with their own winemaking tradition dating back in the East to 1835)
California Wine Association in San Francisco
Digardi in Contra Costa
Petri in San Joaquin
Ruby Hill in Alameda
The Novitiate of Los Gatos in Santa Clara
Bisceglia Brothers in Fresno
Early tax records show that there are 85 acres of vineyards.
Hypolite Dallidet produces more than 3,000 gallons of wine from a six-acre vineyard located between Santa Rosa and Toro, Pacific and Buchon Streets.
A. B. Hasbrouck buys Ranchita Arroyo Grande next to Henry Ditmas, plants 30 acres of grapes, and builds the St. Remy winery. The Goldtree brothers plant 50 acres of Zinfandel and Riesling southeast of Terrace Hill in San Luis Obispo.
Isaac De Turk reported that Sonoma’s vineyards amounted to 11,594 acres with 2,500 planted in Zinfandel.
Charles Krug reported that a total of 11,700 acres were planted in Napa County, compared with fewer than 4,000 in 1878. Zinfandel contributed more to this increase than any other variety.
James Anderson, Zinfandel and Burger grape grower and Winemaker, married Miss Lizzie Gray in Bakersfield, California around this time. They had six healthy children, five of whom eventually settled near James.
The 1885 Louisville Exposition was reported on by Fredrico Pohndorff, a noted European wine expert, who had settled in the US and spent a good amount of his time evaluating California wines. He reported to the California Press with a praise and a warning from this exposition. “California’s most propagated vine, of prolific and excellent fruit, the Zinfandel has been the basis of the superior claret wines for the State for the last 20 years. You will find in the exhibits at the Louisville Expositions several really credible Zinfandel wines, the oldest 1880, one from Sonoma and one from Napa. Zinfandel wine is for years known by consumers, be it straight under its name or in the disguise of a French label. The true virtues, merits, and beauty the juice of Zinfandel is cable of are, in the minority of cases, apparent when grown in a valley or level land. Only a small proportion of the wines are made rightly and show the real beautify of its fragrance and fruity taste. It has thus happened that the appreciation of the well-made and matured Zinfandel has remained limited.”
The Southern Pacific railroad was extended from San Miguel to Paso Robles. More settlers began to arrive to settle around Paso Robles and farm.
Napa’s Zinfandel accounted for 5,744 acres, more acreage than all varieties just six years earlier.
Zinfandel was not a craze in Santa Clara Valley. Some attribute this to the early and powerful French influence in the vineyards around San Jose. Charles Sullivan believes that this prejudice among the French continued against Zinfandel.
The City of El Paso de Robles was incorporated.
Around San Luis Obispo, Dallidet has 11 acres of wine and 3 of table grapes; the Goldtree brothers, 90 acres, producing 4,000 gallons mostly of Zinfandel and Riesling; Dr. W. W. Hays, 80 acres of Muscat, Mataro, Black Morocco, Zinfandel, and Chasselas; and John Hubbard Hollister, 14 acres of Mission.
Gerd Klintworth,grape grower & winemaker
1883: Gerd Klintworth immigrated from Hanover to Orange, California. He took a job with a Boston Company setting up 360 acres of vineyards.
1886: Gerd and his wife Ilsabe Meier Klintworth, also from Hanover, Germany, moved to a ranch off Creston Road in the Geneseo area. Eventually, they owned 292 acres of land which included orchards of plums, pears, peaches, and almonds. He planted the first vineyard in Linne and made wine from Burger grapes. Gerd Klintworth obtains a license to sell jugs of Zinfandel, Port, and Muscatel.
James Anderson planted Burger grapes before Gerd, so it is most likely that James Anderson was the first person to make wine from Burger grapes. Gerd did produce Zinfandel, Claret, Port and a white wine called Angelica, made from Muscat grapes. In 1984 his wine press was donated to the Pioneer Museum.
1882: Andrew York, age 49, purchases a 120-acre homestead on York Mountain from Jacob B. Grandstaff. The land includes a home and fruit stand, an apple orchard and a half-acre small vineyard planted in Mission grapes.
1882 to 1886: Andrew expands the small existing vineyard with Zinfandel cuttings. According to his grandson Howard York, the family believes the cuttings came from Mac York’s vineyard in Napa. Mac, who establish a nursery in Napa, was Andrew’s brother.
1883: The Wine Press and the Cellar was written by E. H. Rixford in 1883. Andrew, obviously studying grape growing and winemaking, may have consulted this book once found in the York’s library. This fascinating manual offers viticultural advice suggesting that egg white be added to the wine for fining and that wines not be racked under a full moon or during a storm.
1885: Private records indicate that Andrew York donated land for the establishment of the Ascension Schoolhouse. The school remains in operation until the late 1940s for children in the neighborhood.
1886 to 1889: Andrew York sells grapes and makes wine.
Henry Ditmas,Zinfandel grape grower
1885: The first Harvest Fair was held in Arroyo Grande in 1885 just as Henry Ditmas has the first harvest of Zinfandel grapes from his Saucelito Vineyards. Henry sent grapes to the Fair. A. B. Hasbrouck, his neighbor, sent some of his famous Ranchita Arroyo Grande cheese. Henry Ditmas began to sell table grapes and raisins to neighbors and locals in Avila and Arroyo Grande.
1886: Henry Ditmas sold grapes to A. B. Hasbrouck, who began to make wine at St. Remy Winery with under his own label, St. Remy. The men became friends and explored the art of grape growing. Ditmas and Hasbrouck understood that a hardy rootstock was necessary for a grapevine to survive. A. B. began to plant his own vineyards with several varietals. Henry Ditmas’ granddaughter confirms that both men bought rootstock from Pierre Hypolite Dallidet and grafted cuttings of Zinfandel and Muscat onto this rootstock. Both men studied and followed the writings of Agoston Haraszthy of Sonoma who advocated planting Zinfandel and Muscat.
Rosa and Henry’s marriage failed, and they chose to divorce. Rosa continued to live in their cottage in upper Arroyo Grande Valley with baby Cecil; she managed the cattle ranch and vineyards. Henry moved to San Francisco after deeding his property to Rosa.
1887: The County Board of Trade Pamphlet contains an article written by P.H. Dallidet, the first commercial winemaker in San Luis Obispo County, on the conditions of the wine industry; Mr. Dallidet’s article states, “I am of the opinion that the wealth of San Luis Obispo County can and will be greatly increased by the planting of vineyards. Mr. Hasbrouck of the Ranchita and Mr. Ditmas of Musick each have vineyards.”
A. B. Hasbrouck,grape grower and winemaker
1883: At the end of his lease in 1883, A. B. Hasbrouck purchased the Ranchita Arroyo Grande from the Steeles for $27,000. A. B. named his home St. Remy in honor of his grandfather Bruyn’s estate in Holland which was owned by the family before they came to America. He acquired a total of 9,000 acres with additional purchases of private and government lands. The cattle and dairy operations thrived; the dairy was mainly devoted to cheese making, and A. B. planned his next entrepreneurial adventure.
1884: Hasbrouck built a home on the upper rancho, planted lawns, rows of trees, clipped hedges, roses, and elaborate flower gardens. There was an oyster shell fountain and a grape arbor. A. B. built a summer house and planted rose vines to cover it; it became known as the tea room, with furnishings made of native woods growing on the rancho. It took six months for pieces of white, red and iron oak, manzanita, lilac, sycamore, laurel, and willow woods to be gathered from the canyons and hills. When the summer house was completed, A. B. Hasbrouck became famous for his invitations and hospitality. Many folks from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties had luncheons and picnics at his ranch after making the four-hour carriage trip up the mountain road to the upper Arroyo Grande Valley.
1885: His next project was to prepare 30 acres for vineyards surrounding his gardens on two sides. He planted Rose of Peru in 1885, Muscat in 1886 and 1887, Zinfandel, Chardonnay and Malaga in 1889. He had made the acquaintance of his neighbor, Henry Ditmas, who planted the first Zinfandel grapes in the Upper Arroyo Grande on land in Saucelito Canyon in 1878 and they shared information and rootstock. According to his granddaughter, Hasbrouck experimented with many types of grapes, including Mission grapes. He purchased mission rootstocks from Pierre Hypolite Dallidet and grafted cuttings of Muscat and Zinfandel.
1886: A. B. built St. Remy winery to make wine with Rancho Saucelito grapes grown by Henry Ditmas. The stones of the foundation are still visible on the land at St. Remy. However, as the marriage of Henry and Rosa Ditmas soured, so did the friendship of A. B and Henry. Henry divorced Rosa, transferring his land holdings in Arroyo Grande and Avila to her. He moved to San Francisco and later to Boston. He died in 1892.
1887: A. B. married Rose Ditmas on July 24, 1887. Rosa and her son Cecil moved to St. Remy Ranch. Rosa continued to manage the vineyards in Rancho Saucelito to produce quality grapes for the St. Remy winery.