The Lastest on the Avila Adobe Old Vines Project

The 2016 Avila Adobe Wine Symposium (l-r) Deborah Hall, Dr. Thomas Pinney, Stuart Byles, Santo Riboli, Wes Hagen and Michael Holland

We’ve mentioned, but never really did a full post on the Avila Adobe Old Vines. And this being the second vintage with the things looking really good for vintage #3, well, it’s probably time.

The running gag around the Old Homestead here is that we make the things most sane people buy. One of those things is wine. Michael is the winemaker, and in his real life, he’s the archivist for the City of Los Angeles. That’s how he happened to talk to Chris Espinoza, director of the El Pueblo State Park in downtown L.A. about the grape vines on Olvera Street, the oldest street in the city. Michael specifically asked about the vines growing in the courtyard of the Avila Adobe, the oldest building still standing in the city.

Well, Chris said it was okay if Michael harvested the grapes on the vines to make wine. Michael did some research and found out that these are possibly the oldest vines currently growing in the state. In fact, they’re so old, that the University of California, Davis, did the DNA test on them for free, with the results being that the vines are a match for the old vine at Mission San Gabriel. Alas, we’re not sure of the date of that one, either. But we’re guessing the Avila Adobe vines are around 150 years old.

So, that’s how Michael came to make angelica, a local version of sherry, from the grapes he picked. In addition, last year, he organized and moderated a symposium on historic wines at the Adobe as the El Pueblo foundation’s first fundraiser. The silent auction even featured a few bottles of the first vintage of angelica – which was (and is) insanely tasty. At least, Anne thinks it is, and even accounting for bias, there is the reality that she hates stickies and really hates sherry.

This second vintage is coming along just as nicely, with bright fruit flavors and just enough tang to kill any cloying sweetness.

Better yet, the vines which Michael has been caring for, along with winemaker and friend Wes Hagen, are doing really well and it looks like we’ll get another good harvest this September.

If you happen to be in Los Angeles next Thursday, July 20, be sure to check out this year’s symposium, which will be celebrating the centennial anniversary of one of the oldest wineries still operating in the state, San Antonio Winery, which opened its doors in Los Angeles in 1917. The event will take place in the courtyard of the Avila adobe from 6pm to 8pm

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