Mayacamas 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 1860ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s. 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 1930ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s 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.
Visit the Mayacamas website