Preserving A Way of Life In Our Vineyard and Valley

John Concannon, fourth generation vintner, was raised in the original home that his great-grandfather, James, built on the winery estate he founded in 1883. He attended the same schools and church as his grandfather and father before him in this vibrant community that the Concannon family loves and calls home — a wine region steeped in amazing, California wine pioneer stories of adventure, adversity and trailblazing accomplishments.

John often tells people that “if you really want to understand a wine, then the best thing is actually experiencing the terroir and vineyard where it comes from, where the wine is born. It’s an ideal way to enjoy and savor wine with friends and family around the pleasures of the table—while actually tasting and experiencing that sense of place within the wine.”

A tireless advocate of environmental stewardship and historic preservation within the vineyard and the Livermore Valley, some of John’s most energetic endeavors have been focused on revitalizing the landmark winery while preserving its history and the estate’s historic sense of place.

1883 Concannon Margaux Mother Vine Vineyard

In 2016, Concannon began new vineyard management initiatives with UC Davis for preserving our 1883 Concannon Margaux, Mother Vine Vineyard. This historic vineyard has a remarkable story to tell that John hopes will inspire visitors for generations to come.

The 1883 Concannon Margaux, Mother Vine Vineyard is one of the most treasured Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards in California and the only vineyard of its kind in America. This 1883 vineyard is home to extremely rare, Concannon Margaux heritage clones propagated from extraordinary Cabernet Sauvignon that James Concannon imported from Bordeaux’s First Growth, Château Margaux in 1893.

The “Concannon Mother Vine”

In 1965, Jim Concannon and UC Davis selected three cuttings from this single vine which provided the original plant material for the Concannon Cabernet Clones 7, 8, 11. Today, an estimated 80% of California’s 90,000 acres of Cabernet are planted to the Concannon Clones which descended from this one special vine that is still producing beautiful fruit.

“I believe it is entirely fair to say that through the collaborative efforts of UC Davis and Concannon Vineyard to safeguard the Concannon Clones, we have made a highly significant contribution that helped build the extraordinary success of the California Cabernet Sauvignon winemaking industry.”

-Deborah A. Golino, PhD, Director, Foundation Plant Services, UC Davis

Preservation of the Historic, 1883 Winery

Over the course of our ten-year estate revitalization project, we carefully restored our original winery, a California Registered Historical Landmark, which now includes our Tasting Room, Wine Library and Wine Bar.

Every effort was made to utilize all the original materials in its sustainable preservation and restoration:

  • Original brick surrounds the doors, building edges and fountain.
  • The original Spanish mission bell was refurbished.
  • The smaller, milled wood planks are from antique, Redwood barrels.
  • The large timber outside is century-old, pecky cedar wood from the original winery ceiling and upstairs floor.
  • The outside rock walls were built from rocks found in the very rocky soil of the estate.
  • Antique, “Livermore” oven bricks are featured in the fountain base. (discovered during the renovation)
  • Horse shoe impressions were preserved ― a sign of good luck ever since the winery was founded ― as well as an authentic reminder of the important role horses have played in our pioneer winegrowing, family history and Livermore Valley culture and community.

Dedication of the Concannon History Gallery

On July 25, 2016, John Concannon dedicated the new Concannon History Gallery as a tribute to his father, Jim, on his 85th Birthday.

We invite our guests to grab a glass of wine and enjoy a fun opportunity to time travel through Concannon and California wine history — from its beginnings in 1883 to Prohibition, to the creation of the Concannon Cabernet Clones to the Judgment of Paris, and to the remarkable, present day discoveries in sustainable winegrowing.

Our Concannon History Gallery includes:

A New “Concannon Story Timeline”

Our Concannon Story Timeline showcases 19th century and early 20th century Concannon wine pioneer photos along with extremely rare, Prohibition-dated, Concannon wine bottles that mark important milestones in both Concannon’s and California’s wine histories.

Three of these rare, Prohibition-dated bottles of Concannon wines on display are also now at home in the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian collection.

Captain Joe Concannon, second generation, introduced America’s First Varietal Wine Label with one of these wines: his 1925 bottling of Riesling as a varietal wine. The introduction of labeling wines using varietal names was a great leap forward for California wines, and this same 1925 Riesling now resides in our Concannon History Gallery as well as in the Smithsonian collection.

New Soil Tower and Signage

Our Soil Tower and signage helps introduce guests to our Concannon Vineyard terroir and the special sense of place found within the wines they are enjoying.