Californian Wines

As in Europe, the church was responsible for much of the planting of vineyards in California. The first sustained vineyard in California was at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, planted in 1779, with the winery being constructed around 1783. Father Junípero Serra, responsible for these and other plantings, is considered the “Father of California wine.” A number of other Europeans influenced the vineyards, type of grapes planted and vinification over the years, but it is Sonoma that has the oldest commercial winery, the Buena Vista winery, and the oldest family-run winery, Gundlach Bundschu. Russian River Valley in Sonoma County is home to many of the famous Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines, with a climate particularly suited to these Burgundy grapes. TR Elliott winery is one of those small wineries, producing hand-crafted Pinot Noirs from small, select plots.