Almaden's rich history spans nearly 16 decades. In 1852, founder Etienne Theé planted California's first vineyards with vines from his home in France, naming it Almaden Vineyards after a local mine in the Los Gatos area. We are proud to say that California's winemaking began here, and since then, we've become one of the leading winemakers in the country.
Over the first century of our history, we perfected our winemaking style, surviving through the Prohibition years of the 1920s to create the first blush wine in 1958. Called White Grenache Rosé, this blush quickly became the first popular pink wine in the United States. That same year, Almaden successfully continued its endeavors to develop the largest varietal wine vineyard in the world in Paicines, California.
After merging with Madrone Vineyards in 1951, Theé's son-in-law, Charles Lefranc, took control of the winery. Lefranc was a winemaker inspired by the traditional methods of the Old World, drawing lessons and inspiration from European winemakers. Only the finest cuttings from Europe were planted under his watch, resulting in a fine product that attracted many to the superb taste of Almaden wines.