Mount Veeder Grape Growing History
The History of Grape Growing on Mount Veeder
German immigrants began to settle in the region during the 1870s. In 1889, John Henry Fisher established Mayacamas Vineyards. He also raised horses and used his property as a base for his other entrepreneurial activities.
Unfortunately, he overextended himself and declared bankruptcy around the turn of the century. The winery was rumored to have been used by bootleggers during Prohibition. Robert and Elinor Travers bought and restored Mayacamas Vineyards in 1968.
Colonel Thomas Gier owned what is now the Hess Collection Winery in the early 20th century. Because of Depression-induced financial woes, Gier sold the property to the Christian Brothers in 1929. The Christian Brothers produced Sacramental wine in the winery during Prohibition.
Brother Timothy and Brother John were both critical in the Christian Brothers’ wine production after this acquisition. These two men were instrumental in developing the reputation of the Mount Veeder AVA. The region was known as “Napa Redwoods” before 1935.
Donald Hess currently leases the same production facilities from the Christian Brothers. The Hess Collection also houses an exquisite art collection, and is located adjacent to the Mount LaSalle retreat and retirement center.
In 1990, the 15,000 acre region was granted AVA status. At the time of writing, there were 24 vineyard owners and 14 wineries on Mount Veeder.
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