York Brothers Winery. Bill York buys out his cousin Howard York who decided to pursue a career in civil engineering. Bill changes the name from York Brothers to York Winery.
An Announcement is printed and sent out to customers and friends from Howard York with the following announcement:
This is to announce that the
Partnership of Wilfrid S. York and
Howard A. York doing business as
York Brothers is being dissolved.
In the future the YORK BROTHERS
Winery will be operated by Wilfrid
It has been a pleasure serving
You and I leave with my very best
Wishes to you and Bill.
San Luis Obispo County, York Winey in Templeton: Review of York Winery by John Melville, Wine Travel Writer
“Representative of good wine making in San Luis Obispo County is the York Winery, owned and operated by Wilfrid S. York and located just below the peak of York Mountain on the eastern slopes of the Santa Lucia Mountains overlooking Templeton and the valley below.
The ranch property was acquired in 1882 by Wilfrid’s grandfather, Andrew York. Born in Indiana Andrew came out West from Missouri in the eighteen fifties and settled in San Luis Obispo County after first having spent some time in the Napa Valley. A proud family possession is the original deed to the land, dated 1875, made out to Jacob Grandstaff from whom Andrew bought it, and signed by U.S. Grant, President of the United States.
Andrew York found that the grape vines he planted to supplement his apple orchard yielded more grapes than he could market and so, with the help of his sons, Walter, Thomas and Silas, built a small winery to take care of the surplus. Shortly after the turn of the century additional land was purchased and a large vineyard planted of Zinfandels, selected because they mature early and thereby usually miss the early winter frosts. About that time too the winery was enlarged with the use of bricks molded and burned on the place in the ancient tradition of the Babylonians.
The York place is a historic one, as time goes, and many tales are told of how the lumber to build the original houses and winery was carted over the rough and steep mountain roads all the way from Cayucos on the Estero Bay which at that time was a small flourishing harbor before the railroad came to Templeton. Indians used trails running through the property and camped overnight on the mountain on their way to the hot sulphur and mud baths in what is know Paso Robles, twelve miles distant. Nearby also is the San Ygnacio Ranch, established by Ignace Paderewski, the great Polish patriot and world-famous pianist, who raised wine grapes and had them crushed at the York Winery.
After the death of Andrew in 1913 his sons Walter and Silas took over the family enterprise which became York Brothers Winery. Upon their retirement in 1944 the third-generation winemakers, Wilfrid and Howard, continued the operation until 1954 from which time Wilfrid (or Bill as he is called) has run it as a sole proprietorship.
Only one wine is produced, a fruity, zesty Zinfandel. It is made in small quantities and is available in barrels for family use as well as being bottled under the brand by which the general area is known, York Mountain.”
Guide to California Wines – A Practical Reference Book for Wine Lovers by John Melville is published.
Biography: John Melville (1903 – 1962)
John Melville, a Dutch nobleman, fought in the Free Netherlands Army during World War II. He emigrated to the United States and decided to retire in Carmel, California. He became interested in the local wine industry, studied the geography of the wine regions, and traveled throughout California to interview wine makers and winery owners. He published two editions of his Guide to California Wines in 1955 and 1960. This book became the travel guide for 15 years for those who toured California wine country. Guide to California Wines is the most comprehensive book on the local wine culture in the 1950s.
Review of Guide to California Wines
In his introduction, John Melville writes that he hopes the reader will derive as much satisfaction from consulting the Guide as he had pleasure in composing it. He goes on to say that he hopes that the day is not far off when the United States of America, one of the great wines producing countries of the world, will adopt the custom of the serving of a glass of wine with the evening meal as a natural and national custom. “So enjoyable and healthful a habit will do much to relax the personal tensions of the day and to promote feelings of well being and goodwill.” This book was written in 1955 when a beer at the local bar and the cocktail at 5:00 o’clock were trending all across America.
John was the first to write a guide that defined California as a major wine producer with rich histories in the vineyards and the wineries. Many were started by Europeans who valued cultures where food and wine were central to the enjoyment of life. The names and addresses of California wineries were published in one succinct volume with a list of the finest wines being produced at each. John also brought scholarship to the subject with the assistance of Dr. A. Dinsmoor Webb, Associate Professor of Enology, College of Agriculture, University of California; the Wine Advisory Board; and the Wine Institute. John interviewed each of the winery owners to document their individual stories.
John Melville wrote the comprehensive Guide to California Wines in 1955 which provided a detailed analysis in three sections of the book. In the first section, he described the various kinds of wines produced throughout California according to geographic region. This was the first attempt to describe the impact of terroir on winemaking to the general public; one grape varietal, grown in a wide variety of soils and climates, made different tasting wines of the same name, based on the regions and terroir in which the grapes were grown. This guide was designed to educate the public and to encourage them to learn about local wines by visiting tasting rooms and engaging with winemakers.
In the second section of the book, John described the more notable wineries in three regions of California that were producing and bottling wine to be sold directly to the public. These three broad regions included the following counties: The Northern Coastal Region included San Luis Obispo County as well as San Francisco, Monterey, Sonoma, Napa, Alameda, Santa Clara, and Contra Costa Counties. The Great Inland Valley Region included the Lodi area in Sacramento County, the Escalon -Modesto area in San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties, the Fresno and Hanford areas in Fresno, Madera, and Tulare Counties. The third of the great wine producing regions of California covered Southern California from Cucamonga in San Bernardino and Los Angeles Counties to San Diego where Padre Junipero Serra planted the first mission grape vines in 1769. This detailed description of the regions enabled both commercial winemakers and wine lovers to get into their cars and drive to wineries of their choice all over California to taste the wide variety of fine California wines – wines that would soon compete in quality with European wines.
The third section of Guide to California Wines- a practical reference book for wine lovers describes a new California lifestyle. There is a” wine and food pairings guide” for lunch, dinner and special occasions, a description of the types of modern wine glasses and how to serve wine, a list of outstanding California wines, the California wineries open to the public, and last but not least, a guide to storing wine.
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