York Winery was awarded a gold medal for Zinfandel on the 16th day of September 1960 by the Los Angeles County Fair Association in Pomona California. It was signed by the Superintendent, Wine Department George D. Hussey.
The 1960s are a disastrous decade for York Winery – from Gold Medals to snow storms.
Robert (Bob) Young plants vineyard in Shandon. He is the first new commercial grape grower in San Luis Obispo County since Prohibition, and his vineyards were the first known to be planted with commercial irrigation systems in the Paso Robles area.
David and Judy Breitstein open Duke of Bourbon in Canoga Park on May 1 and place their first bottles on the shelves – wines from Louis M. Martini Winery in St. Helena, one of the most famous wineries in the Napa Valley. In their first year, they aggressively marketed rare Jim Beam collectible decanters. With profits from the sale of these collectibles, they were able to dramatically increase their inventory of fine wines and launch what would become an extensive exploration throughout California’s and Europe’s wine countries. Innovating throughout the years, they installed a background music system (which was unique in retail stores at the time), with amplifiers and speakers David constructed, and after building a collection of rare vintages and large format bottles, they opened a museum inside Duke of Bourbon. Vine-Line, their nationally distributed newsletter, began publication in 1971. In 1995 Duke of Bourbon became one of the first shops to open on the internet. Along the way, they marketed with seminars and tastings that attracted up to 200 people.
David Bennion, winemaker at Ridge Vineyards, drives all through California looking for old Zinfandel vines to source grapes. He drives by the vineyards of Benito Dusi, drives onto the property and knocks on the front door of their home. Dave is invited to share a dinner of polenta and stew with Benito and Caterina Dusi. Dave Bennion bought five tons of Zinfandel grapes from Benito on a handshake. The following year, Ridge Vineyards produces a successful Zinfandel wine and makes a deal with Benito Dusi to buy 97% of his harvest. This agreement is still in effect in 2019; it is the longest running contract is San Luis Obispo County.
Jack Foott, a local farm advisor, plants experimental vineyards in Edna and Arroyo Grande Valleys. Jack established trial plantings of Riesling and Chardonnay near Ernie Righetti Avocado Orchards in the Edna Valley. Grape samples were sent to UC Davis to analyze and make wine from the fruit. The region was originally thought to be too cold to produce quality grapes. However, Jack Foott’s vines were successful, and soon others became interested in growing grapes in the area. Jack Foott is remembered as being the catalyst for vineyard plantings in the Edna and Arroyo Grande Valleys due to his research and experimental vineyards.
In August, David Breitstein (Duke of Bourbon-Canoga Park) visits Napa for the first time. He introduces himself to Robert Mondavi and visits the legendary Joe Heitz’s winery (Heitz Cellar) and Beaulieu Vineyards where André Tchelistcheff had been winemaker since 1937.
Romeo “Meo” and Margaret Zuech move to Westlake Village and plant Lagrein, Teroldego, and Marzimino. Meo begins making home wines in the laundry room of their home. Meo and Margaret would go on to establish Piedra Creek Winery in the Edna Valley and introduced Italian grape varieties to San Luis Obispo County.