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The History of Sonoma Carneros Wine

In 1834, General Vallejo secularized the Spanish Mission System. He began granting land tracts to his family, friends and loyal allies. Technically, an individual only needed to prove that he was a naturalized Mexican citizen and agree to make improvements to the land to receive a grant.

But as the population of California became increasingly Anglo and Protestant, discontent with the Catholic Mexican Government began to grow. In 1846, the Bear Flag Revolt was the beginning of the end of Mexican rule. California was annexed by the United States in 1848.

In 1856, Agoston Haraszthy, a Hungarian nobleman, arrived in Sonoma. He planted vineyards and established Buena Vista Winery. Two of his sons married two of General Vallejo’s daughters.

In an era of fortified and jug wines, few believed the cool region had any viticultural value. Investment in new vineyards and wineries was very slow until the early 1970s. Following Tchelistcheff’s and Martini’s lead, specific cool weather varietals were planted. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay have been particularly successful. The past few decades have seen a massive interest in developing the Carneros wine industry.

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