The aristocrat Agoston Haraszthy de Mokesa (1812-1869), who comes from Austria-Hungary, is considered a Californian wine pioneer. At the time of the Habsburg monarchy, he entered the Imperial Guard in Wien at the age of 18 and took it to the colonel. On his estate in Hungary, he dealt with viticulture and silkworm breeding. He emigrated to America in 1840 and later made up for his family. In Wisconsin He planted the first vineyard in this US state and founded a city named after him, today's Sauk City. He also operated a steamship on the Mississippi. The news of the gold finds then attracted him to San Diego in 1849, like so many at that time California, Here he ran property speculations and became the city's first sheriff a year later. He also dealt with fruit, vegetable and grain cultivation, and ran a rental stable and a butcher shop.
In 1857 he bought near the city Sonoma 230 hectares of land and founded the still existing one Buena Vista Winery, With 165 different grape varieties imported from Europe, he now began to vinify on a large scale. According to an allegation made in 1885 by his son Arpad Haraszthy, the variety was said to be among them Zinfandel, which in the meantime turned out to be probably wrong. He had six cellars drifted into the sandstone hills on his property. In the immediate vicinity, the German friend Jacob Gundlach (+1894) founded the 1973 as a Gundlach-Bundschu reactivated winery. Haraszthy also learned the California wine pioneer of German descent Charles jug (1825-1892) and persuaded him to write in Napa Valley To practice viticulture.
As a result, Haraszthy was very successful and won several prizes with his wines. In 1861, on behalf of the California governor, visited the then 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, he selected and ordered 100,000 European cuttings from 300 different grape varieties during his trip. As a piquant detail, it should be mentioned that the California Senate refused to reimburse him for the travel expenses. Haraszthy was the first to introduce European quality grape varieties to America on such a large scale and to experiment with them on a grand scale.
He distributed them all over California and tried to find the best vine for each floors and climatic Find out relationships. This was an important impetus for viticulture in California and many grape varieties grown today have their origin in this campaign. Over the next seven years, he expanded Buena Vista to almost 2,500 hectares. When he went bankrupt with his winery, Haraszthy emigrated to Nicaragua and tried his luck with growing and producing sugar cane rum, But he was no longer successful, because shortly afterwards he was allegedly eaten by alligators. A number of dubious legends emerged after his death, but his great service to California viticulture is undisputed.