The native of Austria-Hungary nobleman Agoston Haraszthy de Mokesa (1812-1869) is considered a Californian wine-growing pioneer. He entered the imperial guard in Wien at the age of 18 at the time of the Habsburg monarchy and brought it to the rank of colonel. On his estate in Hungary, he dealt with viticulture and silkworm breeding. In 1840 he emigrated to America and later caught up with his family. In Wisconsin He created the first vineyard in this US state and founded a named after him city, today's Sauk City. He also ran a steam ship on the Mississippi River. The news of the gold discoveries then lured him to San Diego in 1849, as did many others at that time California, Here he ran property speculation and a year later became the first sheriff in the city. It also engaged in fruit, vegetable and cereal cultivation, and ran a rental barn and a butcher shop.
In 1857 he bought near the city Sonoma 230 hectares of land and founded the remaining Buena Vista Winery, With imported from Europe 165 different grape varieties, he now began to operate on a large scale viticulture. Among them, according to a claim made in 1885 by his son Arpad Haraszthy allegedly also the variety Zinfandel, which turned out to be probably wrong in the meantime. On his property he had six cellars drifting into the sandstone hills. In the immediate vicinity founded a year later, the friend of his German Jacob Gundlach (+1894) 1973 as Gundlach-Bundschu reactivated winery. Haraszthy also learned the Californian viticulture pioneer of German descent Charles jug (1825-1892) and persuaded him in the Napa Valley To cultivate viticulture.
Haraszthy was very successful in the episode and won several awards with his wines. In 1861, on behalf of the California Governor, visited the former wine-growing centers in Germany, Spain, Italy, France and Switzerland and wrote the comprehensive report "Grape Culture, Wines and Wine-Making" on his return. A year later, selected by him on his journey and ordered 100,000 European cuttings from 300 different grape varieties. As a piquant detail on the edge should be mentioned that the California Senate refused to replace him travel expenses. Haraszthy was the first to introduce European quality grape varieties to America on such a scale and began experimenting on a grand scale.
He distributed them all over California and tried to find the best vine for the different soils and climatic conditions. This was an important stimulus to winemaking in California and many grape varieties grown today have their origins in this action. Within the next seven years, he expanded Buena Vista to nearly 2,500 hectares. When he went bankrupt with his winery, Haraszthy emigrated to Nicaragua and tried his luck with sugar cane cultivation and production of rum. But he could not experience success, because shortly after he was allegedly eaten by alligators. After his death, a number of dubious legends arose, but his great merit for the Californian viticulture is undisputed.