Spring Mountain Vineyard
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Spring Mountain Vineyard Winery History: La Perla

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Spring Mountain Vineyard

In the late 19th century, there was a boom of activity in the wine business in the Napa Valley. European wines were expensive and in short supply. San Francisco was a bustling boom town and a train ran from Oakland to Calistoga. Dozens of wineries were started and thousands of acres of vineyard were planted. In 1873, a German immigrant, Charles Lemme, bought about 285 acres of land on Spring Mountain. He began clearing the land in 1874 and he planted about 65 acres of vineyard. Two years later Lemme, built a small winery of stone and redwood and named it La Perla, "the pearl." After Jacob Schram, who settled earlier on Diamond Mountain, Lemme was the second man to move into the western hills. Lemme became the first person to grow and make Cabernet Sauvignon on Spring Mountain.

The vineyard was sold in the 1890s to the Schilling family, who owned an important spice company in San Francisco. Together with the McPike Vineyards, they were incorporated in 1903 as the Spring Mountain Vineyard Company. The winery was expanded to handle the larger production of some 350 acres of vineyard controlled by the Schillings. The vineyard has been continuously farmed since it was first planted, survivi ng Prohibition. The large stone winery, La Perla, stands today, much as it did a hundred years earlier; still holding most of the original farming and winemaking equipment.

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