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Father of California Wine

California winemaking began in San Diego County. Franciscan missionary Father Junipero Serra planted the first vineyard in Alta California at Mission San Diego de Alcala in 1769. Additional vineyards were planted at missions up the coast and the winery established at Mission San Gabriel Arcangel in Los Angeles County became the largest winery in California. The grapes planted in early California were the blackskinned Mission variety. When Alta California gained its independence from the Spaniards in 1830, the mission vineyards were abandoned and all but disappeared. One vineyard planted to the Mission grape still thrives in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation at Gypsy Canyon Vineyards. Here, proprietor and winemaker Deborah Hall crafts a dessert wine, Ancient Vine Angelica, from her Dona Marcelina’s Vineyard in the style of the Spanish padres who made a similar wine from Mission grapes for their own consumption.

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