Father Jose Altimira
Father Jose Altimira played an integral role in the history of wine After Father Presidente Vicente Francisco de Sarria did not approve his plan, he went to Governor Don Luis Arguello for assistance.
Governor Arguello was worried about the Russians encroaching on the frontier and thought that a mission would help secure the area. In 1821, Altimira led the first exploration party to the Napa Valley.
However, Altimira chose a site in Sonoma County instead to build his mission. On July 4th, 1823, Father Jose Altimira founded Mission San Francisco de Solano in Sonoma. The chapel was built by Miwok a year later.
This was the only mission established after the Mexico declared its independence from the Spanish. Ironically, the Russians helped the mission more in its early years than the Mexican government.
But Father Altimira’s disciplinarian style did not sit well with the Native Americans. And a group of them attacked and burned the mission in 1826. This ended Altimira’s authority over the property and he left Alta California soon after.
The Mexican Government responded by sending Cayetano Juarez and a group of soldiers to subdue tensions in the region. Juarez would later gain fame for putting down a larger rebellion at Mission San Jose in 1829.