During this tour, you will learn that Concannon Vineyard has been recognized for many pioneering contributions to California winemaking and viticulture and also has a proud history of “firsts.”
- In 1883, James Concannon not only established the first successful U.S. winery founded by an Irish immigrant, but also established Concannon as a Founding Family of the California wine industry.
- James was one of the first to craft Bordeaux and Rhône-style wines in California and was well-known for his meticulous selection of the highest quality vines directly imported from Bordeaux, including from renowned Château d’Yquem and Château Margaux.
- The famous Concannon Cabernet Clones 7, 8, 11 are Concannon Vineyard’s most significant contributions thus far to the California wine industry. The Concannon Clones resulted from the highly successful, collaborative work between Jim Concannon (3rd Generation) and UC Davis in selecting and preparing for heat treatment cuttings from a single Cabernet Sauvignon vine which James Concannon had earlier imported directly from Bordeaux. According to UC Davis’ Foundation Plant Services, “The historic Concannon Clones are currently the most popular and widely planted Cabernet Sauvignon clones in California and its premium wine growing regions. … These dynamic clones were an essential asset to the enormous expansion of Cabernet Sauvignon plantings in California and Napa Valley from the 1970’s to the present, but also played an invaluable, distinctive role in helping California and Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon achieve national and international recognition.”
- Jim Concannon is also recognized for his highly significant contribution of being first to release a bottling of Petite Sirah as a standalone varietal wine. After its first release from his 1961 vintage, Jim became known for introducing “America’s First Petite Sirah®” and has garnered great respect as the “Father of Petite Sirah.”
- Among other “firsts,” Captain Joe Concannon (2nd Generation) hired one of America’s first technically-trained, female winemakers, Katherine Vajda. And, during Prohibition, it was Captain Joe who kept Concannon Vineyard continuously operating, making wine as one of only a select few wineries in California to acquire federal licensing which allowed the legal sale of sacramental wine.
- John Concannon is continuing his family’s remarkable legacy of preserving the past while engaging the future. John states, “I am especially proud that Concannon Vineyard was first to place its vineyard into the Tri-Valley Conservancy Land Trust and was one of the first to become Certified Sustainable by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA). We are dedicated to environmental stewardship as reflected by our recently completed, ten year revitalization project which includes a state-of-the-art, solar powered, small lot winery and the restoration of the original, historic winery. I am firmly committed to upholding the Concannon family values of integrity, excellence, and respect for the land, all required within the Concannon name which, in ancient Gaelic, means ‘Wisdom Without Compromise.’“ For John, Concannon Vineyard’s continuous crafting of outstanding wines of uncompromising quality and character symbolizes building an eternal bond with the past by creating bold, new chapters in Concannon family history.