Almaden Vineyards

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Almaden Vineyards
Location Madera, California, USA
Appellation Santa Clara Valley AVA
Formerly Almadén Vineyards
Founded 1852
Parent company The Wine Group
Known for Almadén Grenache Rosé
Varietals Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling, Zinfandel, Merlot, Grenache, White Zinfandel
Other products Chablis, Chianti, Burgundy, Rhine
Historic wine label, New Almaden Vineyard, Chas. Lefranc proprietor

Almaden Vineyards is a winery located in Escalon and Madera, California. They claim to be California's oldest winery.

Their original location was at the Old Almaden Winery south of San Jose between Los Gatos and Almaden. It is registered as California Historical Landmark #505.[1]


The winery was established by Éthienne Thée in 1852, who named the vineyard after New Almaden, a nearby quicksilver mining town.[2] Though sources contradict concerning details of the original foundation, it was undeniably Charles Le Franc, son-in-law of Thée, who planted the first choice European grape varieties at the foot of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The conditions of Pacific cool evening breeze and rocky soil are not sufficiently fertile for large yields but grapes of special quality.[2]

Following Prohibition, Almadén as its wines were marketed, had great success with their blush wine, the White Grenache Rosé, allegedly the first popular pink wine in the United States.

The vineyard has undergone great change since, and as the home ground of Los Gatos became overrun by suburbs, Almaden Vineyards was among the first to move south and 1,000 feet (300 m) up, to Paicines in San Benito County, initially planting 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) of mostly Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes with success,[3] and claim of "the world’s largest varietal wine vineyard".


  1. ^ California Office of Historic Preservation, Santa Clara
  2. ^ a b Lichine, Alexis (1967). Alexis Lichine's Encyclopedia of Wines and Spirits. London: Cassell & Company Ltd. p. 64.
  3. ^ Johnson, Hugh (1971). The World Atlas of Wine. London: Mitchell Beazley Ltd. p. 220.

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