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?