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Santa Clara-Santa Cruz - Notable Wineries By District And Region

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(Note: Information Originally Published In 1955 - Presented For Historical Perspective!)


York Brothers, Templeton

Representative of good wine making in San Luis Obispo County is the winery owned and operated by the York family, located just below the peak of York Mountain on the eastern slopes of the Coast Range, overlooking Templeton and the valley below.

The ranch property was acquired in 1882 by Andrew York, grandfather of the present owners. Born in Indiana, Andrew York came out West from Missouri in the eighteen fifties and settled in San Luis Obispo County after having first spent some time in the Napa Valley. A proud family possession is a valuable document, the original deed to the land, dated 1875-made out to Jacob B. Grandstaff, from whom Andrew York bought it-and signed by U. S. Grant, President of the United States.

Andrew York found that the grape vines he had planted to supplement his apple orchard yielded more grapes than he could market, and so, with the help of his sons, Walter, Thomas, and Silas, built a small winery to take care of the surplus. Shortly after the turn of the century additional land was purchased and a large vineyard planted of Zinfandels, selected because they mature early and usually miss the danger of early winter frosts. About that time the winery also was enlarged, using bricks molded and burned on the place in the ancient traditions of the Babylonians.

The York place is a historic one, as time goes, and many tales are told of how the lumber to build the original houses and winery was carted over the rough mountain roads all the way from Cayucos on the Pacific Ocean, at one time a small, flourishing harbor. Indians used trails running through the property on their way to the hot sulphur and mud baths in what is now Paso Robles, some twelve miles distant. Nearby also is the San Ygnacio Ranch, once owned by Ignace Jan Paderewski, the great Polish patriot and world-famous pianist, who raised wine grapes and almonds there.

After the death of Andrew York in 1913 his sons Walter and Silas took over the enterprise, which became the York Brothers winery. The present owners and operators are the third-generation wine makers, Wilfrid S. York and Howard A. York, the sons respectively of Walter and of Silas.

Only one wine is produced, a fruity, zestful, and nearly roo per cent varietal Zinfandel. It is made in small quantities and is available in barrels for family use and bottled commercially under the brand which is also the name by which the area is known, York Mountain.