ayacamas Vineyards is a wine
estate located in the Mayacamas Mountains which divide the Napa
and Sonoma Valleys. The old stone winery is perched on the edge
of a dormant volcano crater, near the top of Mt. Veeder. Fifty
two acres of vineyards are planted on mountain sides ranging
from 1,800 to 2,400 feet above sea level. Deer, eagles, coyotes
and an occasional bear still inhabit this rugged terrain.
For many centuries, the land
at Mayacamas was inhabited by the Wappo Indians, stone age hunters
and gatherers. Spear points and stone implements from their civilization
are still occasionally recovered from the vineyards.
The first white settlers came
to Mayacamas in the 1860s. They were sheepherders who built
the still existing barn. Little is known of their rugged existence.
The winery was built in 1889
by John Henry Fisher, a German immigrant, who first worked as
a sword engraver in Philadelphia and then became a pickle merchant
in San Francisco. The winery was also used by his family as a
summer home and as a ranch to raise and care for the horses he
used to deliver pickles to his clients in San Francisco. He sold
his wine by the barrel. The barrels were loaded onto horse drawn
wagons, driven fifteen miles to the Napa River, and then transferred
to ferry boats which took the wine to San Francisco where it
was bottled and sold.
Soon after the turn of the century,
the Fishers declared bankruptcy. The winery officially fell into
disuse, although bootleggers are said to have made wine in the
old stone cellar. During the late 1920s and 1930s the Henry
Brandlin family, some of whom still live in the area, owned the
property. Then in 1941 Jack and Mary Taylor bought the land.
They restored the winery, turned the old stone distillery into
their home, and chose to name the restored estate Mayacamas Vineyards.
In 1968, the winery was purchased
by its present owners, Robert and Elinor Travers. Under their
direction, aging facilities have been enlarged, neighboring land
has been purchased, and vineyard clearing, planting and replanting
are an ongoing process. In addition to Chardonnay and Cabernet
Sauvignon grapes, small blocks of Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc,
Merlot and Cabernet Franc are grown.
Monday through Friday we schedule
visits to the winery. To make an appointment, please contact
us. We distribute our wines throughout the United States
and internationally. If you
would like to be on our semi-annual newsletter mailing list,
please let us know your mailing address.