Los Carneros is unique in that it covers territory in not only Napa but also Sonoma Valley. In the early 1800s, Sonoma was a mission town with the purpose of converting the local Indians in the area to Christianity and overseeing the surrounding lands. California was under Mexican jurisdiction and in 1834 the Mexican government moved to secularize all California missions. “Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, Military Commander and Director of Colonization of the Northern Frontier, arrived in Sonoma, along with ten families of would-be settlers, to take charge of the mission, free the Indians and distribute the mission lands.” – www.carneros.com . Vallejo split the land and gave it away freely. Officially it was available to anyone who could prove naturalized Mexican citizenship, but unofficially it went mainly to family and friends includng Jacob P. Leese who married General Vallejo’s sister and acquired extensive land holdings in Sonoma. Four of these land grants make up what we know today as the Los Carneros region.
The Los Carneros region to what may have been the second vineyard planted in Northern California after Jacob P. Leese planted a small vineyard on the Huichicha grant. He was followed in the 1850s by William H. Winter and wine-making grew in the region until the phylloxera outbreak followed shortly thereafter by prohibition which brought wine-making to a screeching halt. In the 1935, after prohibition was repealed, grapes were being grown again. The region once again began to flourish and has been growing and maturing continually ever since.