Visiting the Ghosts of CA Winemaking Past in Cucamonga

cucamonga trail

In the San Francisco Chronicle, wine editor Jon Bonné travels to Rancho Cucamonga, CA to pay a tribute its storied past of wine production. Although it is not a prosperous wine region it used to be, Cucamonga remains a “treasure trove of ancient vines,” where small-scale wineries continue to operate. 

The wine industry in Cucamonga began around 1900, when Italian immigrant Secondo Guasti founded the Italian Vineyard Co., and it kept expanding even through Prohibition. In the 1940s, the valley boasted more than 40 wineries, spanning between 25,000 and 40,000 acres in vines. However, “prosperity was destined not to last.” The wine trade moved north, and into the San Joaquin Valley. Los Angeles sprawled eastward, raising the price of land around the Cucamonga Valley. Vines disappeared, condos and warehouses moved in. 

However, Cucamonga knows that its glorious golden days have passed. “Cucamonga evokes the past; it does not live there.” Albeit in a small scale, the wineries around the area are still producing wine to preserve a family tradition and the history of Cucamonga. “Out here in the desert, where ghosts linger, there’s more than money at sake.” [San Francisco Chronicle] [Photo: Flickr/JacobDelaney]