|TOUR PACKAGES||WINE COUNTRY INFO||CONTACT|
1834-1845 Secularization of Sonoma
By 1834 Altimira’s mission and vineyards were thriving, but the political winds of change were to spell doom for the old mission system. The Mexican government, upon deciding to secularize the missions, sent a military detachment under the command of a young Mariano Vallejo to Sonoma to take control of the Mission properties and establish a town. Vallejo built barracks, surveyed a town square and started doling out land grants to settlers. He also took some of the mission’s vines and planted them on his own property. Vallejo would become one of the California wine country’s first private winemakers. Several of Vallejo’s early land grants were to American settlers.
George C. Yount a native of North Carolina who had arrived in California in 1831 was given a large rancho in Napa Valley in 1836. His original grant, called Rancho Caymus was 11,000 acres just north of what is now the town of Yountville. To the north of Yount’s rancho, another American, Dr. Edward Turner Bale, was given a similar grant in 1841. Bale’s property included the areas of modern day St Helena and Calistoga.
1846 Bear Flag Republic
The American military, who had been waiting for a suitable excuse to seize the territory of California, took news of the outbreak of war between Mexico and American settlers in the east (the Alamo in Texas for example) and the Sonoma revolt as the opportunity they had been waiting for to invade. The raising of the Stars and Stripes over Sonoma Plaza on July 9th 1846 marked the end of the short lived “Bear Flag Republic” -so named because the flag raised by the revolt party had featured a grizzly bear in its center. Legend holds that the flag was created the night before the revolt by William Todd, nephew of Mary Todd Lincoln, future first lady of the Unite States. Todd and company appropriated a square of crude muslin and drew the grizzly bear and a star using a rusty nail and berry juice. The large red stripe across the flag’s bottom edge is said to have come from a lady’s petticoat. The modern state flag of California is based on this original design and still features the words: California Republic.
From the raising of the American flag in Monterey on July 7th, California became a de facto possession of the United States, occupied by the military until the territory was officially ceded by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo at the conclusion of the Mexican- American war in 1848.
Gold Rush & Statehood
The end of the gold rush saw many naively optimistic prospectors heading back home, but most would stay on to discover California’s true treasure, the land. As people turned back to traditional occupations and agriculture, Sonoma once again became a thriving town now infused with a steady stream of immigrants from around the world. Most of the new comers were European and many brought with them knowledge and traditions of winemaking from their place of origin. As these new and diverse peoples settled in Sonoma Valley and Napa Valley they naturally planted wine grapes on their farms and most people were engaged in making wine for home use, all contributing to the development of what would soon become the California wine country.
|TOUR PACKAGES||WINE COUNTRY INFO||LINKS|