Tuesday, August 18, 2015

 No, on Minimum Wage!

Does Anybody Remember the

Meaning and Intention of "Capitalism?”

I am shocked that nobody is screaming for government to get out of the routine affairs of entrepreneurial ambitions!

 1.0.  Example

If I want to start up a company and I have done my homework to show me what the costs of my business will be in order for me to make a profit, who the heck is government to tell me what I have to pay my potential employees?

A.  Employer/owner Risk taking
       As private enterprise, also known as “Capitalism,” I am to assume all of the following risks when
        undertaking a business enterprise: 

(1) Spend my personal savings money, borrowed financing and/or investor capital on the feasibility, marketing, and, if required, environmental impact studies necessary to obtain all the permits and licenses in order to receive approval to conduct my desired business.

(2) Provide all the capital investment from my bank accounts, borrowed financing and/or investor capital needed to:

Purchase/lease workspace,

Cover the costs of all the necessary overhead items such as utilities, general liability insurance, furniture and fixtures,

     Consumable office supplies,

     Employee health plans, sick leave, holidays and vacation time.

3. Provide the operating money borrowed from myself, financing institutions and/or investor capital sufficient to cover the cash flow requirements of paying all the month-to-month operating expenses and payroll for all employees during start-up and until sufficient service or product sales are streaming in on a continuing basis to pay such expenses.

               4. Pay for all the governmental employer required salary taxes, sales taxes, inventory taxes,
               and company earnings taxes.

5. Pay myself back (with fair interest) for the money I took out of my savings account [which is, designed to pay for my living expenses when I am no longer able to work], to pay back the borrowed principal with interest, and/or to pay dividends to the investors.

   B.  Employees have no risk
          Please notice that the employees do not share in these employer expenses. Also, notice that
          governmental bodies do not share in these risks. As the owner/employer, I take all of the risks. 
          Who is going to protect me as the owner/employer? Who is going to protect me so I can keep
          employing people?

               1. Has that government body conducted a market assessment analysis to see what the
               impact of its required labor wage value will do to the potential success of my company?
               2..  Is the government body willing to guarantee to cover the difference in fluctuating   
                consumer sales demand so that I can recover the following?

(a) My out-of-pocket loans from my saving account

(b) Borrowed money repayments

(c) To ensure that any investors receive a reasonable return on their investment

(d) It would also ensure that I receive a reasonable profit for taking all the risks of

 (e) Employing people who might otherwise be unemployed and surviving off public funds.
          C. Will these government bodies share with me, as the employer, in the costs of government
           required health benefits provided to employees?

    D.  A willing “seller” and a willing “buyer.”
            As an employer, I make an offer to pay somebody so much money to provide a service or,
            make or a product. A person reads my offer and can decide to accept it or not. If that person
            accepts a position in my company, the conclusion is that there is a willing “seller” and a
           willing “buyer.”

           That is the nature of doing business in a capitalistic society. If nobody wants to accept my
            wage offer then I will have to recalculate my numbers to determine whether the intended
            business is viable or not as a private enterprise. 

2.0   Let Government Makeup the Difference

If government bodies want to ensure that all employees receive a “livable income” then they should look to themselves, providing the difference in pay from what an employer is willing to pay to whatever the government bodies determine is a “livable income.” However, this would just be another form of Social Security! Is that what we all really want to create?


3.0 Cause and Effect of Forced Minimum Wages on Employers and Employees

A.  Increasing the minimum wage encourages some unscrupulous employers to use illegal immigrants in order to maintain a wage that works for the success of making  a product or providing a service at a profit.  When employers use illegal workers they look for alternative ways to make up the money such as the following methods:

(1).  Pay the illegal worker in cash thus the employer’s share of payroll taxes are not paid into the system.  The extension of this effort is that the illegal employee does not report the illegal income thus they do not pay their share of federal and state payroll taxes or annual income taxes.
(2).  The employer shaves the number of vacation days, sick days and holidays that the illegal employee could receive, that is, if they were to receive any at all.  And, these days off would be without employers paying the illegal worker for those days of missed work.

B. When employers use legal workers they will look for alternative ways to make up the money such as the following methods:

(1).  There will be employers who will reduce the number of paid vacation, sick and holidays that can be earned by an employee.

(2).  The employers will reduce the weekly number of hours an employee can work thus letting the employer avoid paying their share of health benefits.  

(3) Additionally, these employers will likely reduce the amount of their company health cost payments to that minimum percentage required by governments imposing a minimum to be paid by an employer.  This increases the share amount that has to then be paid by the employee.

(4). There will be employers who will reduce the weekly number of hours an employee can work thus avoiding that employee reaching the point where they must be paid overtime for working more than a 40 hour work week.

(5) There will be employers who will stop providing the employer-matching share for employee savings towards retirement plans.  Some will cease retirement plans entirely.


4.0 . Big Business/Government Contracts and Requests for Proposals

I have no problem with a government entity or public enterprise requiring that a private enterprise bidder must pay a minimum wage to its employees should that proposer be awarded that contract.

It is the right of the government entity and public enterprise to set the terms on which they will allow a company to work on their contract.  As an employer, I have the right to decide not to bid on the proposal if I do not want to pay that minimum wage or I must decide to pay it if I want to bid and if I win the proposed work.


1.  Why not a maximum wage that can be paid an employee?  What is the constitutionality that allows the government to propose a minimum wage value on a private business and then present it to the voting public for a vote of approval or not to enforce?

If a minimum wage can be forced on a private enterprise business owner, then that same logic says that the same proposal and enforcement process can be applied to establish the maximum amount that an employer can be allowed to pay its employees. This is just simply wrong in a democratic society operating a capitalistic economic system! 

Who is going to tell Bill Gates or Warren Buffet that they can only make, say $250,000 a year including monthly payroll checks, bonuses and stock options?    Who is going to tell the wine giant Gallo’s, a wholly family owned private business enterprise, how much they can make?
2.  Why not a maximum stock price or dividend that can be paid to an investor?  When will the government and the general voting public start setting what the price of a company’s stock will be allowed to be?  How much dividend can be paid on each stock unit?

3. Stifling innovative thoughts and business! If the government and voting general public can set minimum wages on private enterprise then capitalism and democracy as we know it today are doomed and we will become a socialistic country stifling free thought and entrepreneurial  motivation where persons seek reward for the risks that they take while seeking to make their fortune.


Leave private enterprise alone!  Stop trying to regulate things where government has no right to interfere.  In other words, the work place must run under the doctrine of “Laissez- faire.” If not, government will eventually squelch innovation and move our economy to a socialistic state, stagnating and forcing all the ambitious and hard working to carry the lazy on their backs, all for the same pay. Economic collapse, therefore, is inevitable


interesting articles


Meaning of  Private versus Public Enterprises

A. Private Enterprise

Here is what Thefreedictonary.com and The American heritage dictionary say

“1.  business activities unregulated by state ownership or control; privately owned business

2. A privately owned business enterprise, especially one operating under a system of free enterprise or laissez-fare capitalism.”   

Factsaboutbusiness.com says it is “an economic system that rewards firms for their ability to perceive and serve the needs and demands of consumers.”

Dictionary.com uses the Collins English language dictionary which defines private enterprise as

“1.  economic activity undertaken by private individuals or organizations under private ownership.

2. another name for capitalism”

Businessdictionary.com says it is the “basis of a free market capitalist system, it is a business unit established, owned, and operated by private individuals for profit, instead of by or for anybody by or for government or its agencies.”

B. Public Enterprise

Here is what Britannica says:  “a business organization wholly or partly owned by the state  and controlled through a public authority.  Some public enterprises are placed under public ownership because, for social reasons, it is thought the service or product should be provided by a state monopoly.  Utilities, broadcasting, telecommunications and certain forms of transportation are examples of this kind of public enterprise.”

 Businessdictionary   addresses another segment of a public enterprise  it is “a company whose shares are available and traded on the stock market or other over-the-counter market.  Subject to more regulation than a privately owned company, a public enterprise  has greater access to financing.  Shareholders own a percentage of the company based on the amount of stock they own.”


Sunday, August 16, 2015

By John M. Olney
July 22, 2011
Part Two of a Three Part Series for, :

The Concept of a “Hall of Fame” and the Overlooked Greats

Regarding the Nominees. A Hall of Fame (HOF) needs to be designed to
1. Recognize those individuals and entities who, after examination of conclusive evidence, have contributed to one or more of these measurement factors:

- A significant skill above that of the average person in that trade/profession

- Design and development of a processing methodology that becomes routinely adopted by the industry

- Equipment product that significantly improves the overall quality of the end result of the subject industry

2. Recognize multiple recipients’ who as a team contributed to the industry one or more of the aforementioned measurement factors. An example would be a winery owner who supplied all capital backing necessary for his/her winery to produce a quality wine although those owners were not necessarily involved in the daily operation of the wine production. The initial years of founder Jesse Jackson of Konicti Winery and his winemaker Jed Steele producing the award winning Chardonnay that launched K-J on its fantastic growth. Jackson has been inducted into the CVHOF but the man, Steele, who actually was responsible for its production has not been inducted. Another example is only half o the team that most in the trade credit with the development of the sun degree days table has been inducted when both should have gone in at the same time..

Regarding the Electoral College of a HOF. The HOF has to have a comprehensive understanding of the background and experience levels of those associated to the subject industry of the HOF who would be voting upon the nominees. One must avoid establishing a voting body consisting of a great number of individuals whose age, historical knowledge of the wine industry and experience level preclude them from comparing “old timers” to their contemporizes so they vote for the “known entity” thereby bypassing some of the most important contributors to the American Wine Industry or a smaller segment of it like say the State of California.

1. A HOF needs to be based on a solid foundation recognizing those throughout the history of the subject industry of that HOF.

2. The HOF must include all of the various aspects of that industry. In the case of wine, it must include recognition of individuals and groups from the planting and management of the vineyard, to the winemaker & winery owner, public relations & marketing divisions, wine writer/critic & historian, to the distributor & retailer, all of which make it an industry.

2. The HOF needs to have the ways and means to verify the “credentials” of the names submitted for possible nomination for election to, and induction, in such HOF

3. It is essential that the organizational body of a HOF design and prepare unbiased, accurate and complete biography sheets on each candidate for the voting body to review and consider in their individual selection process.

This latter point is where I believe the creators of the CVHOF make their most crucial misjudgment. They believe that they must use short statement abstracts of no more than about three sentences because they believe that the electoral college members would not take the time to read a full biographic background on each of the 30 plus nominees the CAHOF normally proposes on its ballot each year. This abstract or biographical write-up is what I consider the most crucial criteria in order to have a valid HOF of the most worthy inductees and not just a bunch of inductees decided by “popular vote.”

When the HOF organizations selects individuals to be part of the electoral college, that prospective voter needed to be aware that he will be reading biographical statements that may require his/her time in order to understand the true value of that nominees contributions relative to that of another candidate. If the candidate of the electoral college does not feel he/she can commit to such time then they should be forthright and upfront and decline to become part of the voting body.

(www.ciaprochef.com/winestudies/events/vhf_inductees.htmlThe CVHOF has been in existence now for four (4) years and has inducted 33 individuals. You can review its history at the web site shown above. Many of these individuals are important contributors to the California Wine Industry but they are certainly not more important than many other individuals, who in my opinion, made much greater significant contribution to the industry and should already be inducted into the CVHOF.

I do not understand how such giants as the following - some of whom have been nominated at least once and some more - are not inducted.

I know of at least one other writer who appears to think along similar lines to me and it is Dan Berger, who published in February 25, 2011, in his article, ““Not in the Vintners Hall of Fame — but they should be,” for the Napa Register the following paragraphs in quotation and italics. Dan Berger’s mentioning of Petri reminded me of the list of large wine operations shown below.

Big Five U.S.A. Winemakers as of the 1952-53 timeframe (listed by capacity in gallons)

1 - Roma - 30 million

2 - California Wine Association (CWA) - 29.65 million

3 - Italian Swiss Colony (ISC) - 26 million

4 - Wine Growers’ Guild - 22 million

5 - Petri - 20 million
“Louis Petri" One of the most important people in the history of the wine industry, Petri, president of powerful Allied Grape Growers, was the dominant force in American wine following World War II — a marketing force, innovator, and the man who changed the way wine was shipped to market.” By Dan Berger

Let me give you an example of the magnitude of his accomplishments with just the comments listing below

Petri’s purchase of ISC moved him to the largest producer in the USA. Nobody from any of these five companies (Except as a member of a subsidiary winery) has yet been elected to the CVHOF, yet Gallo Brothers are in! Robert Mondavi is in! How can that be a true HOF? Let me add a little to the Petri legend. Petri was so forward thinking that he modified a tanker ship renaming it the “Petri.” He was shipping by sea his wine to the East Coast cheaper than anyone else at the time using all the other transportation methods.

Allied Grape Growers was the sister company of United Vintners, the marketing firm, also headed by Petri, that eventually absorbed the great Napa-based Inglenook Estate created by Gustave Niebaum and then taken to new fame under his great grand nephew, John Daniel. His firm also maneuvered the Napa Valley-based Beaulieu Vineyard estate created under Georges de Latour and its famed winemaker Andrè Tchelistcheff, into the Allied/Vintners domain. All four of these gentlemen are inducted in the CVHOF but Louis Petri is not? What Petri accomplished during his lifetime in the American Wine Industry is, in this writer’s opinion, well deserving of being inducted into the CVHOF.

Berger goes on to mention other greats in the earlier history of the California Wine Industry.

“Eugene Hilgard, the 19th-century botanist and visionary who paved the way for grapes to be planted in Livermore Valley and numerous other locations where he theorized great wine could result.” By Dan Berger

“Byron and Alice Nightingale of Cresta Blanca and later Beringer? The two jointly invented a complex process to make world-class dessert wine. Myron, chief wine maker at Beringer, was one of the most respected wine makers until his death in 1988.” By Dan Berger

I would both agree with and add to Mr. Berger’s list the following candidates.

Percy Morgan
He who essentially designed and then managed the giant California Wine Association (CWA) and lead it to become a completely vertical integrated wine producer. It once owned and/or controlled over 80% of the wine produced in California from 1894 to 1920 At that time CWA was also the largest wine company in the world. It included all seven of the great San Francisco based wine brokers and merchants of the times and the Napa Valley Wine Company. By 1900, the majority of the state's wineries had joined the CWA, including Stag's Leap Cellars, Greystone Cellars at St. Helena, the Italian Swiss Colony, Cucamonga Vineyards, Glen Ellen Vineyards and more. At its peak, 52 wineries were members of the CWA. It was totally vertically integrated because it controlled all aspects of winemaking from the planting of the grapes, to production, bottling, marketing and shipment of its wine. Some of those who were the directors and/or shareholders in the winery operations owned/controlled by the CWA have already been inducted into the CVHOF, but why not Percy Morgan?

Kohler and Frohling
The most likely beginning point for wine production, distribution and marketing of California wine can be attributed to Charles Kohler and John Frohling of San Francisco. They originally operated out of the Los Angles area in the year 1853. By 1856, Kohler & Frohling were exporting bulk wine from their large Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City wine warehouses to European, South American, Asian, and Pacific Rim countries. At the high point of their operation they owned wine production facilities in Los Angeles, Sonoma County, and the Central Valley.

Hamden McIntyre
He completed conceptual design of several wineries during the 1870s to 1890s that still stand today as monuments of the early Napa Valley Wine Industry. They are:

The great stone structures

Inglenook (Now owned by movie mogul Francis Ford Coppola)

Chateau Montelena (now owned by the Barretts family)

Far Niente (Now of Nichol and Nichol ownership)

Bourn and Wise (nicknamed “Greystone”) was the largest stone winery in the world. (Became best known under the ownership of Christian Brothers 1945-1996 and now occupied by the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and home of the California Vintners Hall of Fame.)

Ewer and Atkinson (Now the inner-core of Beaulieu Vineyards winery complex)

The giant wood structures

Eschol (Now home of Trefethen winery)

Christian Pugh Adamson, (Now home to Frog’s Leap)

He also was a significant contributor to the Leland Stanford giant winery, Vina, located in Tehema County.

It should also be remembered that although Gustave Niebaum (inducted into the CVHOF) was well read on the subject of vineyard management and winery operations, he did not do the work. It was Hamden McIntyre who was vineyard and winery manager.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Napa Vintners Revitalize an Old Ghost Winery Jackse Winery (1905-1951)

Southern facing side of the original Jackse Winery, located near the corner of Adams Street and Lbrary Lane, St. Helena, Ca. Construction started in 1905 and expanded over the next eight years until the building complex was finalized in 1913. It’s all in the timing because the Prohibition Era shut down all alcohol production from 1920 to 1933. During this period, stories circulated that the owner, Stephen Jackse, an immigrant from Austria, operated a bootleg operation from this site.

I photographed the modernized building complex in February 2012.


> Today the building is modernized into a large office complex housing all the staff of the large Napa Valley Vintners Association of almost 400 wineries. According to the literature I received from Aram Charkian, Office
Manager for the Napa Valley Vintners, the building was subsequently used as a foundry then basket-making operation and most recently as a storage shed.

The north facing side of the winery complex back in the early 1910s

The exterior lumber of the original winery was used for the new office interior walls.

                                  The restored old ceiling

Meet Office Coordinator, Michele Reynolds who assisted me to look around the facilities.

Aram told me that he is assisting in the fund raising efforts to restore the Jackse home located at the southern end of the winery building.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Winegrowing Industry of Nevada County

History of and Guide to the
Winegrowing Industry of Nevada County

A booklet by John M. Olney

After 18 months of careful research on the internet, at Nevada County libraries and parks/museums, contact with the great wine industry libraries at UC Davis and Bancroft Library at Berkeley, local governmental agencies and hours of tasting interview visits with the owners and winemakers of most of the 23 bonded winery operations claiming a Nevada County address, our founder, John M. Olney, is about to publish what just might be the most thorough review of the Winegrowing Industry of Nevada county.

Mr. Olney first develops the arrival of wine grapes in California and how the gold rush period sped up the introduction of wine production to Nevada County. For the remainder of the booklet, Mr. Olney shifts from historian to tour guide providing the reader with the experiences he encountered in locating the mostly remote countryside vineyards and wineries, meeting directly with owners and winemakers and tasting their products with them. Mr. Olney commented, “What a unique experience compared to most of the more well known wine country regions surrounding the Bay Area.”

You will want to own and keep this special edition historical resource and tour guide to the "Winegrowing Industry of Nevada County." The first release will be a limited edition production run. It contains over 100 pages of color photography of the owners, winemakers, vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms of the facilities and grounds open to the general public. Plus it includes historical information about its beginning and growth of the industry since the gold rush days.

When interviewing Alan Haley, founder of the first modern era winery in Nevada County (1980), Mr. Olney found quite interesting the sidebar comment made by Alan as they closed out their visit: ”You know John, you have the distinction of having tasted more Nevada County wines than any other Bay Area wine writer I know.”

To read the full and detailed review of the booklet click here 

To review the Table of Contents, click here

Monday, January 02, 2012

Barrel tasting and dining in the Borreo Building

The Borreo Building Third and Soscol

The comment on the Napa Register internet site about turning the 1887 Borreo Building on the corner of Third and Soscol into a winery is very interesting. Back in 1888, Borreo built the “Bay View Vineyards and Winery” (BVVW) on the south side of Soda Canyon Road (Shown left) where he grew crops and maintained farm animals which became the products he apparently sold out of the downtown Borreo Building. The Bay View winery building is located near the old site of the Napa Soda Springs ruins which was a very popular resort location for the wealthy of San Francisco in those early days.
The BVVW property (aerial view left) is now owned by the Ron and Diane Miller, owners of Silverado Vineyards located in the Stag’s Leap District just north of Napa. Diane is the daughter of Walt Disney and Ron is a former head of Disney Studios  
Turning the building into a resurrected“Bay View Winery” would be a very interesting concept. There are probably too many environmental impacts to actually build a fully operating winery, such as waste disposal; but perhaps it could be turned into a barrel storage and aging facility with restaurant, tasting room and event center. When wine tasting, there is nothing better than walking around a barrel room with all the fragrance of developing wine and tasting the wine from the barrel.

The parking situation might be mitigated if a stilted parking deck and outdoor tasting/dining lounge along the west and northern ends of the building could be authorized (building show above right) , On the waterfront and city lights at night !-- food for thought?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My opinion:COPIA future in Napa Reg, Dec. 28,2011

Napa Regisyter Home / News / Opinion / Letters to the Editor / Letters to the Editor
Copia should be mixed-use development with high-end shops
Posted: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 12:00 am | 

On Jan. 2, 2009, I wrote my opinion, “A magnificent emporium from Copia’s ashes,” about the Copia facility and its surroundings and it was published in the Napa Valley Register. Since that time, I have been giving considerable thought to what this area could, and should, become.

First of all, this whole area was once known as “Little Italy.” There was no tourism along First and Third streets, between Soscol Avenue and Silverado Trail. Just about where Copia meets the Oxbow in the Napa River, old man Bacigalupi dumped his collected neighborhood garbage into the river to be carried away. The area was about as “local” as it could be. Those days are gone forever, never to be seen again.

The area has been turned into an exclusive visitor and tourism-oriented world with very expensive hotels (River Terrace and Westin), Napa Valley Wine Train excursions terminus and the Oxbow Public Market as major anchors. And, more exclusive visitor- and tourism-oriented businesses are salivating over the possibilities in the near future to be part of this “Park Place and (Boardwalk)” area of downtown Napa.

With the announcement of the Rogal + Associates partnership with owners of Copia to reopen the defunct building and grounds complex, there will be a horde of entrepreneurial business folks anxious to discuss the possibilities of their involvement in its rebirth. Unfortunately, there will be those who will strongly advocate that the complex should be turned into something community-oriented and, as such, would be a nonprofit activity. This should not be considered for such a primary tax revenue–oriented area for two reasons: The latter exclusive use of the facility would probably displease Copia’s neighbors, who pay healthy property tax, etc. and they would want a change in those taxes since a nonprofit would probably lower property tax values throughout the area; and the costs to remodel the facility, and subsequent annual operating and maintenance costs on such a large complex, would be too great for anything but a highly subsidized nonprofit to raise and keep in annual and long-term endowments from private wealthy interests and government agencies.

Remember that Copia was initially a highly endowed nonprofit business that could not sustain its endowments, nor raise sufficient revenues to keep its doors open.

Copia should become a mixed-use building and grounds complex. As I envision the building complex, the entire first floor would contain for-profit, high-end clothing, jewelry, art and other similar shops. It would have small cafes, wine-tasting bars, etc. All of these features would be designed around high-end products and goods.

The entire front garden area would be replaced by a spectacular glass-enclosed building containing additional high-end shops.

The second floor would become home to a five-star nightclub or restaurant seating 300 or so on the eastern third of the building overlooking Napa River and the downtown lights at night. The remaining two-thirds of the upper floor would contain the American Wine Industry Hall of Fame, Museum and Foundation. Within it could reside the California Vintners Hall of Fame, if they were so inclined to move the location from St. Helena.

Based on its accomplishments to date, Rogal + Associates has obviously displayed the forward thinking and business acumen to carry off such a project as I envision.

John Olney / Napa

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Table of Contents

Copyright information i

Acknowledgements ii

Table of Contents v



SECTION II "Quick Reference" to the Tasting Room Facilities 3

Getting Around the Wineries of Nevada County 3
Nevada City Tasting Rooms 3
Grass Valley Tasting Rooms 4

Other In or Near Town locations 5
Lake of the Pines 5
Truckee 5

Wineries Having No Public Tasting Room Facilities 6

Other Wineries not yet visited 6

How good are the Wines? 6

The Wine Competition Circuit 6

The Prestigious Winemakers 6

    JED STEELE - Indian Springs Vineyards 6
    JACQUES MERCIER - Solune Winegrowers 6
    MARK FOSTER - Nevada City Winery 7
    TONY NORSKEG - Nevada County Wine Guild 7

SECTION III History Overview - Arrival of the Wine Grape in Nevada County 8

Land Possession Before the Gold Rush 8
Land Possession Following the Gold Rush 9

Introduction of Winegrowing 9

The Beginning Wine Industry in Nevada County 11

Pre-Prohibition Years: 1840’s-1930’s 11

A Little Historical Commonality Between Napa, San Francisco & Nevada Counties 15

My Speculations About the Early Winegrowing Industry 16

Background On The Modern Nevada County Wine Industry 16
Wine Producers 18
Grape Growers 17

Marketing and Advocacy Organizations 18

Media Exposure 18

SECTION IV Local Perspectives - The Future of the Nevada County Winegrowing Industry 20

Sierra Vintners - Interview with President Alex Szabo 20
   Recent expansion 20
   Re-branding 20
   Quality of wines produced 20
   Master Plan and Budget 20
   Near future expansion 20

Sierra Wine and Grape Growers Association - Interview with President Tom Besemer. 21

Nevada County Agriculture Commissioner 21
Some Views from Other Winery Owners - Responses to questions asked by John Olney 22

“What do you see happening for this area in the near as well as in the distant future.” 22
Rob Chrisman - Avanguardia 22
Mark L. Henry Montoliva 22
Lynn Wilson - Pilot Peak 22
Jacques Mercier- Solune 22

How do you plan to increase consumer visitation and thus retail sales, or do you even wish to increase these? 23
Rob Chrisman - Avanguardia 23
Mark L. Henry Montoliva 23
Lynn Wilson - Pilot Peak 23
Jacques Mercier- Solune 24

SECTION V Nevada City - Downtown Wineries & Stand-Alone, Second Tasting Rooms 25

The Town of Nevada City 25
Wineries Located Downtown 26
Wineries with a Stand-Alone Tasting Room 31

SECTION VI Grass Valley Area - 
Downtown Wineries and Stand-Alone, Second Tasting Rooms 34
The Town of Grass Valley 34
The Holbrooke Hotel 34
The Famous Ladies 35

“Collective” Tasting Rooms 36 151 UNION SQUARE - Event Center and Retail Wine Tasting Room- 36Coufos Cellars 38 Double Oak Vineyards and Winery 38
Montoliva Vineyard and Winery 38
Naggiar Vineyards 38

Bent Metal Winery 39
Pilot Peak Vineyards and Winery 39
Solune Winegrowers 39

Hwy 49 Near - Lake of the Pines 39 BEAR RIVER WINE TASTING 40

Bear River Wine Tasting Facility 41
The Narrow-gauge Train - Began in 1876 - Colfax- Grass Valley 49
The Transcontinental Railroad - Completed 1869 - Cape Hood 50
Chicago Park 50
Empire Gold Mine 56

The Community of Penn Valley 65
 The Town of Rough and Ready 72

Bridgeport Wooden Covered Bridge 80
French Corral - Site of 1st Long Distance Telephone Call 81

Hydraulic Mining Scars 85
Washington Township - The Gold Discovery in 2011 Was a Hoax! 86
Almost Lost in the Sierra's 87
The Town of Truckee 89

SECTION XII The Growers 92
Sierra Grape Growers Association 92
The Current Association 93
Largest Vineyard in the County - S and L Vineyards 93
Other growers Not a Member of Either the Grower or Vintner Associations 93
An interesting Unattended Vineyard 94
Sierra Wine and Grape Growers Association Annual Picnic 95


History of and Guide (continued)

History of and Guide to the
Winegrowing Industry of Nevada County
By John M. Olney


Mr. Olney incorporates interesting notes and tales of the people and places since wine grape vineyards were first planted in the Gold Rush days in the 1850’s, right up to the Fall season of the year 2011. You will meet the richest of families as they amassed great fortunes in gold mining, water supply and distribution systems, introduction of mechanization with associated energy resources and many more tools that helped transform America from an agrarian society into a mechanized one.

Then after the flash of surface (or “placer”) mining was quickly over he reviews the rebirth of the gold industry as corporations began subsurface operations (also known as “hardrock”) mining. Some of the names you may already be familiar with such as the William Bourn Family of the peninsula who eventually controlled the Empire Gold Mine of Grass Valley (the richest producer in the state), vineyards and the largest stone winery located in Napa’s wine country, the entire water supply to San Francisco County and many more businesses. The notorious Sam Brannan, the exiled Mormon leader, who proclaimed the discovery of gold and continued advertisement of it that led to the mass migration of mostly men and a few women from the states east of the Mississippi River to California thereby upsetting and shifting the power basis in Congress. Brannan built merchandise stores before his proclamation so he could sell mining equipment and food stocks at greatly inflated prices while amassing large land holdings and possibly becoming the first millionaire of California. He was also involved in the wine business in Napa Valley among his many and substantial business endeavors. And, there are more exciting characters of those old days gone by with roots simultaneously in Nevada, Napa and San Francisco Counties.

Mr. Olney traces the major events associated to the very first production of wine in the state of California pointing out the important players and their contribution to the California Winegrowing Industry, indeed for all of America, leading up to the commencement of grape growing and wine production in Nevada County. Then came the disasters! Wine grapevine disease such as Phylloxera, surface gold depletion, and the failed social experiment of the Prohibition era calling for the halt of alcohol production and consumption. All these major factors led to serious declines in the Nevada County population as well as the economy but the subsurface mining continued. This failed economy wiped out the fledging winegrowing agriculture from about the late 1890s through 1940’s.

But A few bright farmers recognized that the fertile soils and moderate climate of the lower Nevada County lands were well suited to fruit and wine grape growing. Slowly wine growing was being re-introduced through a cottage industry type approach in the 1950s through 1970s.

Then a very bright guy was born and raised in Nevada City who went off to law school to find his path in life. Enter one Alan Haley. He acquired a taste for fine wines during his collegiate years at Harvard. He commenced his legal career in Honolulu, Hawaii and noticed that fine wines were not readily available; only ordinary wines, That meant he needed to form an import & distribution system so he could once again enjoy fine wines at home and supply his favorite restaurants with these products too. Bacchus Imports was born. Then he noticed there were no refrigerated facilities available to properly store all the imported wines of not only his business but that of other broker distributors. He leaped into action and built the first refrigerated wine warehouse in Hawaii. But yet another discovery would come to his attention that he found totally unacceptable. Hawaii was taxing imported wines but not locally produced wines. Talented, young and ambitious he feared no one! He attacked the Hawaii laws that taxed imported wine but not domestic wines. He found a very large adversary in Hawaii but like David he eventually slue Goliath taking his unfair taxation case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Along the monotonous court procedures and legal interpretations road he found new friends to support him in his quest for equal playing ground rules such as the giant Gallo Brothers operation of the Central California Valley. They prevailed and taxes that had been withheld over all the long years of court battle were returned to non-resident alcoholic beverage distributors on a percentage basis. By the time of the Supreme Court decision, the amount in escrow that Hawaii could not spend exceeded $100,000,000. That’s correct, over $100 million!. Alan was a hero in the wine business and a key precedent was set because of his tenacious attack of the unfair tax law which is still cited in legal hassles today.

But as would be expected, Alan’s days of successful law practice in Hawaii were numbered. It was time to go home. Hawaii did not need such a rabble rouser! Once back in Nevada City in the late 1970’s Alan discovered that wine was being produced on a very small scale. He made some inquires and eventually got a chance to taste locally made wine from locally grown grapes. During these sessions he realized that Nevada County could support commercial grape growing and wine production. All the essential ingredients were there - soil, climate and interest among locals. He asked what was needed to launch such an industry and the responses were all the same - a locally based grape crushing and production facility. That was all that Alan needed to hear. He responded,
“Maybe I can do something about that!”

With that local wine tasting experience, the first modern era winery in Nevada County was born. When completed about two years later, Alan and partners blessed the rebirth of the winegrowing industry in the county by appropriately naming their facility “Nevada City Winery,” 100 hundred years after the first one to be so named which was also located in the downtown area. Then Mr. Olney provides you with descriptions of how the wine grape growing and wine production facilities have experienced rapid growth since the early 2000s going from just over a handful before that timeframe to the current number of 23 bonded wineries.

For the remainder of the booklet, Mr. Olney shifts from historian to tour guide providing the reader with the experiences he encountered in locating the mostly remote countryside vineyards and wineries, meeting directly with owners and winemakers and tasting their products with them. Mr. Olney commented, “What a unique experience compared to most of the more well known wine country regions surrounding the Bay Area.”

He often describes the wines he tasted in terms of how they pleased his palate as opposed to trying to fit them into some sort of subjective point system as if the wine was in a beauty contest. You will also frequently read the reactions of his friend who often accompanied him on his winery visits and who lives in the Grass Valley community of “You Bet,”

The wineries are typically separated by an average of 30 minute drives between them and/or the major towns of Grass Valley and Nevada City. Because of the travel time and perceived loss of wine sales, the majority of wineries have opened a second individual or collective tasting room away from the original winery building in and/or near the major cities of Grass Valley and Nevada City. Mr. Olney provides the reader with plenty of photographic visual aids to assist the reader in knowing how to find these downtown tasting rooms and what readers can expect once there. Additionally, he provides the reader with a hefty amount of color photography designed to give the reader sufficient visual record of what he or she will encounter as they elect to make the associated vineyards and wineries destination and tasting sites for future visits to the area. The interviews with the owners and/or winemakers will provide you with interesting reading as he and his friend get them to open up and tell us how and why they selected Nevada County to become their winegrowing home.

When interviewing Alan Haley, founder of the first modern era winery in Nevada County (1980) Mr. Olney found quite interesting the sidebar comment made by Alan as they closed out their visit. ”You know John, you have the distinction of having tasted more Nevada County wines than any other Bay Area wine writer I know