O.C. Answer Man: Was Orange County Ever a Wine Region?


Illustration by Blair Thornley

A: The padres at Mission San Juan Capistrano grew “mission grapes” to use in a dessert- type wine, some of the ranchos had vines, and the Los Angeles Vineyard Company founded Anaheim in the 1850s as a vineyard and winemaking
colony. But the industry ground to a halt in 1885, when Pierce’s Disease wiped out most of the vines. Occasionally, hobbyists or entrepreneurs would make wine from non-local grapes. The Answer Man’s favorite local label (not the wine, just the label) was Trabuco Loud Mouth, made in Holy Jim Canyon until a 1980 brush fi re destroyed the press.

Today, O.C.’s handful of local winemakers include the Laguna Canyon Winery, Newport Beach Vineyards & Winery, Hamilton Oaks Vineyard in Trabuco Canyon, and the Pozzuoli Vineyard & Winery in Tustin. Local historians Don Dobmeier and Sue McIntire will discuss wine history at Sherman Gardens in Corona del Mar on Sept. 8; see rangecountyhistory.org for details. Also, check out our Oc
tober issue about O.C.’s wine trails.

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