The History of The
Santa Cruz Mountains Appellation
The First California Vineyard...
The Santa Cruz Mountains, Los Ranchos, Vine Hill, Santa Cruz County has a long history, dating to 1863, when George and John Jarvis bought 300 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains and began clearing the land for vineyards. Within a decade, the brothers were making 33,000 gallons of wine annually and nine of the county's 16 winemakers were located in the area. By the 1880s, the Jarvis Brothers had planted all 300 acres to vineyards in what was then to become known as the Vine Hill District. The winery began to fall on hard times around the time of the general depression in 1873. In 1876 some of John's holdings were repossessed by the bank. His brother George had previously sold his shares and moved his "Jarvis Wine & Brandy Co." to Santa Clara. In 1877, John managed to buy back some land from a business associate, Alfred Lay, and he named the land Union Vineyard, which is today's Vine Hill wine growing area. Union Vineyard consisted of 63 acres of various varieties including Riesling, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Mourvedre, Petite Pinot, Zinfandel, Malvoisie and Balaret with a small amount of table grapes. By 1890 the wines from Vine Hill area had gained recognition as the wines were shipped to the East Coast. Energies were turning to producing premium wines but phylloxera and a disastrous fire in 1899 destroyed much of the vineyard. When John Jarvis died in 1892 at the age of 60, he left the Union Vineyard to his son Henry, who planted Zinfandel vines on the property. The vineyard was continuously farmed before and after Prohibition, with the vines surviving until David Bruce replanted the vineyard in 1968. The combination of good soil, climate and the coolness from the Pacific provided an ideal climate for growing premium grapes.
*Some historical info taken from: http://www.princeofpinot.com/winery/1544/