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The History of Edna Valley Wine Production

In 1772, a hunting party from Mission San Carlos Borroméo in Monterey was sent to alleviate a food shortage. After seeing the region’s natural resources and abundant food, it was decided that a Mission should be established in Los Osos.

The local Chumash Native Americans were not hostile and the climate was very temperate and comfortable. Father Juniper Serra founded Mission San Luis Obispo in 1772 and placed Father Jose Cavaller in charge of constructing buildings.

The Chumash Indians were instrumental in developing the Mission. It was the fifth of the eventual 21 Missions founded by the Spanish in Alta California. The De Anza Expedition stayed at the Mission San Luis Obispo in 1774 on their way to San Francisco, which was known as Yuerba Buena at the time.

Due to several fires in the Mission’s early years, more substantial buildings with clay tile roofs were built in 1793. During these early years, subsistence and survival were the paramount concerns. At the time, wine production at Mission San Luis Obispo was the most prized in Alta California.

Between the Mexican Secularization of the Mission system in 1834 and the early 1860s, there is no evidence that wine was made in substantial amounts in San Luis Obispo County. Pio Pico, the Mexican governor of Alta California, sold the Mission San Luis Obispo to Captain John Wilson in 1845 for just over $500. After this time, the Mission began to be used for civil governance and entirely ceased its ecclesiastical operations.

The town of San Luis Obispo was incorporated in 1856. The Mission and City are named after Saint Louis of France. In 1861, a stagecoach began running through the town on its way from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Pierre Hippolyte Dallidet revived the original vineyard at Mission San Luis Obispo during the 1860s. Other early farmers and homesteaders soon began planting vineyards of their own. Grape products, including wine, began to be shipped to San Francisco. Early grape growers shipped their products to San Francisco including both grapes and finished wines.

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