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History of Food and Wine in San Diego

This story of the civilization of San Diego and California can all be told by the history of the grapevine and where it rooted in California. You will find some of this story reflected in our wine list and our menu that takes directions from the traditional regional food of this eclectic land that we know as California.

The history of wine in San Diego County commences with the establishment of the Missions under the Flag of Spain where the first wine grapes were planted in California – San Diego, in fact. After the Missions were secularized, vineyards continued to be tended in the romantic days of the Silver Dons on their Ranchos.

Many of the immigrants that flooded the hills of Julian and the valley of Escondido seeking gold and silver discovered they could create liquid gold, “wine” and remained in the area. At one time, over 10,000 acres of the County was planted in vineyards – the largest vineyards existing in El Cajon and Escondido.

After Prohibition, North San Diego County, alone, had over 35 wineries. Two of those family operated wineries, both established in the late 1800’s, still exist today run by another generation, the Ferrar Winery in Escondido and the Bernardo Winery in Rancho Bernardo.

Our goal at Friars Folly Wine Cellar is to celebrate, with wine and food, the agricultural and wine-making legacy of the Franciscan Padres and the rich heritage of the land we now live on. Friars Folly Wine Cellar is a tribute to the efforts of the educated Padres and Californios who forever changed the landscape of California and established one of the world’s most recognized wine producing regions.

The story of San Diego and California can all be told by the history of the grapevine and why it rooted where it did in California. You will find some of this story reflected in our wine list and our menu that takes directions from the traditional regional food of this eclectic land that we know as California.

WINE & THE MISSIONS

In 1759, Padre Serra established Mission San Diego, the first of a chain of __ missions that became connected by a path known as El Camino Real, (“the King’s Road”). Once traveled on by sandaled Friars, Spanish and American soldiers, and explorers and adventurers like Kit Carson, Hungarian Count Agoston Haraszathy (known as the first sheriff of San Diego and “Father of the Modern Wine-Making Industry) and Wyatt Earp – it is the same road you drive on today, except it’s covered with asphalt and expanded to many lanes.

Each mission was strategically located to be one day’s journey apart and its white washed presence was a symbol of hospitality to the early travelers of California. The Friars boarded these travelers and rejuvenated them with food, wine, rest and a fresh horse for the next part of their journey. Like those early travelers’ who heard the Mission bells ring and set sight on the tower almost 250 years ago, you too will know that a welcoming hospitality awaits you when you see the Mission bell tower above Friars Folly Wine Cellar in Old California Restaurant Row.

The history of wine in San Diego County commences with the establishment of the Missions under the Flag of Spain where the first wine grapes were planted in California.

The Friars introduced so much of what makes California so special - the Mediterranean foods – wine, olives, citrus, pomegranates, tomatoes, chilies, tortillas, grains, fruits and beautiful vegetables; wine, Spanish architecture, and a spirit of hope and opportunity.

San Diego County is home to two of California’s Missions and tow Astentencias – the first mission in the chain, Mission San Diego de Alcala, the “Mother Mission” and Mission San Luis Rey, the “Queen of the Missions” and it’s "asistencia" mission the San Antonio de Pala, and the "asistencia" Santa Margerita.

WINE & THE RANCHOS

After the Missions were secularized, vineyards continued to be tended in the romantic days of the Silver Dons on their Ranchos. Become one with the past, and imagine two week long fiestas filled with exciting rodeos in the spring when thousands of cattle were rounded up and branded in spring at the Ranchos - Rancho Los Felicitas (known now as San Marcos), Rancho San Digeuito (later to become know as Rancho Santa Fe when the railroad purchased it), Rancho San Bernardo and Rancho Rincon del Diablo (Escondido).

Dream of a place in time where beautiful senoritas traveling in horse drawn carretas from Old Town San Diego to watch the brave young cabbaleros exhibit their horsemanship, drink wines made from the grapes of the Rancho’s vineyards, and later dance the fandango.

Wine & Immigrants

Many of the immigrants that flooded the hills of Julian and the valley of Escondido seeking gold and silver remained and discovered they could create liquid gold, “wine” and remained in the area. At one time, over 10,000 acres of the County was planted in vineyards – the largest vineyards existing in El Cajon and Escondido. After Prohibition, North San Diego County, alone, had over 35 wineries. Two of those family operated wineries, both established in the late 1800’s, still exist today run by another generation, the Ferrar Winery in Escondido and the Bernardo Winery in Rancho Bernardo.

 

 

 


 
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