Wine Associations & Resources

General History:
  • Friends of the Winemakers (FOWCA) - A local non-profit group working to restore the Old Almaden Winery for use as a Santa Clara County Wine History Museum. Old Almaden Winery was the first commercial winery in California, founded in 1852 with French vines planted by Etienne Thee'. It was passed down to Thee's son-in-law, Charles Le Franc, then to Le Franc's son-in-law, Paul Masson. The shuttered historic brick winery still exists at 1530 Blossom Hill Road in Southwest San Jose, California. FOWCA is seeking funds to restore the original winery, so the site and original building may be used as a wine history museum.

Old Almaden Winery (aka, "Almaden Vineyards") Image: Wikipedia

  • Old Almaden Winery (aka, "Almaden Vineyards") was the first commercial Winery in California, built in 1852. It has been designated as a California Historical Landmark, yet remains closed to the public until seismic bracing and restoration can take place. 
  • IInventory of Paul Masson Records - Online Archive of California
  • Like Modern Edens: Winegrowing in Santa Clara Valley and Santa Cruz Mountains 1798-1981, by Charles L. Sullivan. An excellent and well-researched book on the area's history with information often left out of local history records, most likely due to the Prohibition years and their impact on what was recorded about the area's wine and brandy production. (This book is available at many area wineries for far less cost than at online bookstores, and can be found in some libraries using WorldCat, the book title link above.)
  • Links to all local wineries and their Web sites are below the "Santa Clara Valley Wine History" section, at the bottom of this page.
John Doyle's Cupertino Winery

---Catherine Alexander Bright,