What Was the First Winery in Napa Valley?

October 18, 2017 2:01 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Raise your hand if you love drinking wine and visiting wine country! Like any wine aficionado or curious wine enthusiast, you may be interested in learning the history of some of your favorite wine regions—for example, Napa Valley. The Napa Valley is home to many wineries and vineyards, and is a proud parent to many award-winning wines. You may be a fan, but how much do you really know about this area?

Here’s a brief history of Napa Valley wine brought to you by knowledgeable winery appraisers in Napa County, CA.

1839: Early Napa Valley

A likely lesser-known historical fact about the Napa Valley is that wild grapes used to grow in abundance across the land. However, it was settler George Calvert Yount who saw the area’s true potential for wine grape cultivation. Yount decided to build in the area and soon planted Napa Valley’s first wine grapes. This was in 1839. After that, it didn’t take long for other wine pioneers to come along, such as John Patchett and Hamilton Walker Crabb, who were big players in the introduction of the first vitis vinifera grapes to the Napa area.

1861: Napa’s first winery

The first commercial winery in Napa Valley was established by Charles Krug in 1861. Krug’s success and natural leadership skills inspired others to follow in his footsteps. By the time 1889 rolled around, there were at least 140 wineries in operation in Napa Valley—including the founding of Schramsberg in 1862, Beringer in 1876 and Inglenook in 1879.

Turn of the 20th century: First challenges followed by recovery

Although wineries and winemaking exploded throughout the 1880s, Napa Valley wine production came to a halt at the turn of the 20th century. Because of surplus grapes, the wine industry had to watch as wine and grape prices plummeted. Worse still, 80 percent of Napa Valley’s vineyards became the target of the destructive root louse. Then prohibition happened in 1920. This was a serious threat to the Napa Valley wine industry. Over the next 13 years, too many vineyards and wineries were abandoned, while just a handful of wineries stayed in operation.

The Napa wine industry slowly began to bounce back after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. And most notably, the Mondavi family bought Charles Krug Winery.

1940s: Early Napa Vintners

In the 1940s, vintners found that working together could lead to grater success. So with that, in 1944, seven vintners formed the Napa Valley Vintners trade association.

1960s to today: The last 50 years

It was during the last 50 years that Napa Valley wine became world renowned in the wine industry, with the help of people like Robert Mondavi and his marketing skills. But it was one event—the Paris Tasting of 1976—that put Napa Valley on the map with a big gold star.

Feel free to contact County Appraisals Inc. for more information about hiring winery appraisers in Napa County, CA. We can’t wait to help you find the winery of your dreams!

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