Joaquin José Vineyard

Contra Costa
Contra Costa
Current Owner
State of California
Planted by
Joaquin José

Cline Cellars, Trinitas Cellars, Three Wine Company

Archaeological data and discussions with Stan Emerson indicates that the vineyard located on the west edge of the Emerson parcel that is now part of the Dutch Slough Salt Marsh Restoration Project was established by Joaquin José sometime in the late 1800’s and is most likely between 120 and 125 years old. Joaquin José was a Portuguese subsistence farmer from Madeira Island who had fruit trees and row crops as well. The vineyard was planted on a natural “upland habitat” which is a rare but important formation within tidal wetlands. Most all of these formations have been destroyed throughout the Sacramento Delta after the levees were built.
The vineyard is planted to the Carignane varietal which itself has become quite rare here in California. At one time this grape represented about 30% of all the red-wine grapes in all growing regions of the state. The majority of the vines were planted in the Central Valley and used to make inexpensive box and jug wines. In 1974 California had only 30,700 acres of Carignane but that total has dropped to only 2,547 bearing acres in 2012 with 744 acres disappearing from the previous year (mostly from the Lodi Region District 11). In District 6 which includes Contra Costa County there is only 87 acres left in 2012 with the Emerson parcel representing 16% of that total. Most of the surviving quality vineyards of Carignane mainly exist here in Oakley, Sonoma County, and Redwood Valley in Mendocino County.
The Emerson Vineyard and most of the ancient vineyards surrounding Oakley are world class vineyards and have played a significant role in California’s viticultural history.