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Forkmedia LLC


by Fred McMillin
for February 02, 2000

Monterey On Display


Monterey Vineyard  
Monterey is one of California's largest counties. At the northern end is the city of Monterey, California's first capital.

The Rest of the Story

Monterey has always been full of suprises...

1769—Gaspar de Portola was sent by the King of Spain to establish the first capital of California at Monterey. He arrived on Sept. 30, didn't recognize Monterey Bay, and marched his exhausted troops back to San Diego to report his failure.

1783—Father Junipero Serra had been waiting 10 years at his ecclesiastical headquarters near Monterey for his friars in Southern California to make him some wine. Finally, a ship arrived at Monterey with a precious cask of Mission-grape red. It was loaded onto a mule, fell off and did Father Serra's morale.

1837—Britain's H.M.S. Harriet sank off the Monterey coast. One of the few survivors was the ship's physician, Dr. E. T. Bale. His subsequent behavior seemed a bit E.T. (Extra Terrestrial that is), possibly due to what Hudson's Bay visitor, Sir George Simpson, noted in his diary:
"Dr. Bale seems to take large doses that are quite different from those that he prescribes" [doses of spirits]. At the time, General Mariano Vallejo was the most powerful figure in northern California. In short order E.T.

    a) married a niece of Gen. Vallejo's,
    b) was appointed Surgeon General of the Mexican Army by the General,
    c) was publicly flogged by Capt. Salvador Vallejo, the General's brother, and
    d) then shot Salvador in the chest (not fatal).

Hence, General Vallejo banished E.T. to the upper Napa Valley along with a grant of 18,000 acres. Dr. Bale ran over to check the gold mining, caught a fever and died in 1849. What has this to do with wine? E.T.'s daughter married a young German named Charles Krug who took 20 of those 18,000 acres and established Napa's first commercial winery.

But back to Monterey, and its suprises. Did you know it exceeds all other U.S.A. counties in strawberry and artichoke production? It contains the longest underground river in the world, the Salinas. Furthermore, it contains the largest vineyard in the world, the 8,000+ acre San Bernabe. Last, Monterey County turns out some BIG BARGAINS. One of them is our...

Wine of the Day

1997 Monterey Vineyard Pinot Noir
Appellation—Monterey County
Production—39,000 cases
Price—$7 range, one of those BIG BARGAINS
Rating—RECOMMENDED in its price range
Contact—Office of Joe Gargiulo, (800) 709-7667, FAX (707) 255-1119


Whence the name Monterey? On Dec. 16, 1602, Capt. Sebastian Vizcaino anchored in what is now called Monterey Bay. He named it after his boss in Mexico City, the Conde de Monterey, viceroy of New Spain.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


This page created February 2000