Silicon Valley - it’s easy to forget this area’s role as California’s first premium wine production region -
the Santa Clara Valley. Native Americans named it “the Valley of the Heart’s Delight.” French and
Italian immigrants who settled here during the Gold Rush era recognized the rich soils and
Mediterranean climate as the perfect New World home for their European grape varietals.
And so it begins...
The history of winemaking and viticulture in the Santa Clara Valley goes back to the 18th Century.
From the discovery of native “Vitis Californica” grapes growing wild and the first plantings of Mission
grapes at the Santa Clara Mission in 1798, through boom years and depression, phylloxera and
prohibition, the region has some of the richest tradition of anywhere in the country.
Then came the rise of Silicon Valley and the farmland gave way to technology parks, housing and
shopping malls. Well known, respected wineries such as Mirassou and Almadén were sold and their
old vineyards torn up and subdivided. In much of the county its viticultural history is represented by
little more than street names and historical markers. Winegrowing continued in the south of the
county; around Hecker Pass and Watsonville Road a number of family owned wineries continued
to produce wines, mostly for local consumption.