At a glance: Back to the beginning

By From page B2 | January 23, 2013



On this date in 1862, Agoston Haraszthy, an entrepreneur, elected official and winemaker, had 100,000 cuttings of 350 different varieties of European grape vines to further the infant California wine industry. He had picked up the cuttings in France, Germany, Switzerland and Spain during a trip in 1861. He was looking to improve California’s root stock and he also studied the European vine-planting and winemaking methods. His plan was to sell the vines to the state, propagate them on his Sonoma property and distribute the best cuttings to would-be winemakers throughout California. The Legislature was not too keen on the idea so Haraszthy tried to distribute the vines and lost a lot of money on the venture. It did however seed what has become a major agricultural industry in California. In March 2007, Haraszthy was inducted into the Vintners Hall of Fame by the Culinary Institute of America and his great-great grandson, Vallejo Haraszthy accepted the honor.

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Mimi Escabar

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