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Mar 30, 2010 03:23 PM

Early Cucamonga Wine 1870's

I am researching wines from the Cucamonga Region of California from the 1870's, probable a Zinfandel and Mourvedre.

How do these wines differ for what is available now? Are there any records of production and price from that time?

Thank you

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  1. Search on Guasti if you haven't done so already.

    1. Angelica wine from the region pops up for sale occasionally. This was a fortified wine, often held for decades in cask before bottling, and I believe made from the Mission grape. I've seen some bottles that were believed to be one quart rather than the standard 4/5.

      1. Sorry if your research has taken you beyond the suggestions below, but here are a few thoughts.

        You probably found this link if you searched under Guasti (as suggested). This winery has been there since 1922 so they probably have as much info as anyone. There may also be info at the public libraries in the area.

        And.............. Cal Poly Pomona has some related classes in their hospitality and restaurant management department. Not sure if they have a true enology department. They also have a library on SoCal wine history that might be worth looking into:

        I'd also try calling San Antonio Winery, in LA. It's likely they bought grapes from the Guasti/Rancho Cucamonga area at some point in their long history...... and may have documentation on it.

        I used to drive through that area regularly, in the early '60's, and there was mile after mile of vineyards back then.

        Oh.............. one more idea. UC Riverside has been the base for the University's Agricultural Experimentation Station for many, many years. I don't know if anything they might have would be of help, but it may be worth a try: When I went to school there they were experimenting with grapefruit and oranges. They had developed climate-focused fruit with different skin thicknesses for different climates. I saw grapefruit with skins from 1/16" to 2". Really cool stuff. Never saw any grapes, but hey!!!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Midlife

          I second all the suggestions by Midlife. My wife's family is from the area and my brother-in-law still lives in Rancho Cucamonga. My wife and I have been to Joseph Filippi many times and their winery is full of historical pictures, so I would think that they have a lot of documentation also.

        2. Cucamonga is indeed known TODAY for its Zinfandels above all else, and Zin has thrived there for a considerable time, but Craig is quite right to bring up Angelica. Back in the 1970s, I had an Angelica from Cucamonga that was made sometime in the 1870s -- truly excellent, a very memorable wine.

          2 Replies
          1. re: zin1953

            Was that one of the "Private Stock of Isaias W. Hellman" 1875s? I've seen a few of them; they were bottled in 1921, I believe.

            1. re: craig_g

              IIRC, yes -- it was obtained through the Heublien Wine Auction.

          2. Oddly enough, there's census bureau data on wine production that I posted here before. This is from the 1870 census, but it doesn't give wine by grape. I believe it's by gallons.
            COUNTY Wine
            Los Angeles 531,710
            Sonoma 308,496
            El Dorado 118,831
            Calaveras 99,860
            Santa Clara 85,150
            Yuba 76,743
            Sacramento 74,797
            Placer 61,209
            Solano 54,780
            Amador 54,165
            Tuolumne 51,590
            San Bernardino 48,730
            Napa 46,745
            Tehama 33,000
            Butte 27,919
            San Joaquin 21,165
            Shasta 19,287
            Sutter 14,630
            Santa Cruz 14,550
            Merced 10,815
            Contra Costa 10,330
            Yolo 10,250
            Nevada 10,183
            Santa Barbara 6,275
            Tulare 5,430
            Monterey 5,200
            Stanislaus 5,140
            Alameda 2,785
            San Diego 1,000
            Marin 800
            Klamath 580
            Siskiyou 525
            Mendocino 500
            San Mateo 500
            Sierra 400
            Mariposa 395
            Colusa 170
            Lake 16
            Humboldt 5
            Alpine 0
            Del Norte 0
            Fresno 0
            Inyo 0
            Kern 0
            Lassen 0
            Mono 0
            Plumas 0
            San Francisco 0
            San Luis Obispo 0
            Trinity 0