The renowned California wine industry, famous for northern vintages, actually was born near El Pueblo de Los Angeles. Spanish missionaries harvested the first vintage in 1782 at Mission San Juan Capistrano and then cultivated enormous vineyards at Mission San Gabriel. Their replanted vine-cuttings took root on Jose Maria Verdugo's 1784 Spanish land grant in what became Glendale.Jean Louis Vignes brought a Bordeaux winemaking experience to LA in 1831 and initiated wine trade with San Francisco. By 1848, Los Angeles contained one hundred vineyards. Author Stuart Douglass Byles traces the little-known LA wine tradition through vintners of the San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys, Anaheim and Rancho Cucamonga, Temecula Valley and Malibu and details the San Antonio Winery heritage, the last one standing from old Los Angeles days.
Stuart Douglass Byles is a native Angeleno, raised in Pasadena. He attended Pasadena City College and Reed College in Portland, Oregon, as a history major.
He makes his living as a designer/builder of residences, primarily in historical styles. He has been a longtime docent at the Gamble House museum in Pasadena. He is a founding member of the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley and its current vice-president. He is a founding member of the Stone Barn Vineyard Conservancy, a sponsored volunteer organization of the historical society, set up in 2007 to promote and celebrate the wine history of the surrounding area and maintain the commemorative vineyard at the Deukmejian Wilderness Park in Glendale.Mr. Douglass will have copies of his book, Los Angeles Wine, for sale after his talk. Invocation: Chet SpechtGuest Introductions: Wendy AndersonSong Leader: Gary KearneyAccompanist: Ross JutsumIntroducer: Marsha Rood