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by Fred McMillin
Runaway Horses & Other Vicissitudes
...Doris Cooper, Cooper-Garrod Winery
Charles, Paul, Martin and George...men of note, as we shall see.
Death In The Vineyard
Frenchman Charles Lefranc is considered the father of commercial winemaking in the Santa Clara Valley. He was the first California vintner to import a certain French varietal and make wine from it...Cabernet Sauvignon! Then, a local paper reported that in October 1887, "Last evening, as Mr. Lefranc came out of his cellar, on his vineyard, on the New Almaden Road, he saw one of his teams running away and attempted to stop it. The horses trampled him." The great vintner was dead at age sixty-two. (Sources: Charles Sullivan, Ruth Teiser)
Fire In '41
Burgundian Paul Masson came to California in 1878. He enrolled in college at San Jose, and then went to work for fellow Frenchman Lefranc as his bookkeeper. After the Lefranc tragedy, he married a Lefranc daughter, and went on to become the Golden State's top producer of sparkling wines. At age 75, he sold the Paul Masson winery to Martin Ray in 1936. Five years later it was nearly completely destroyed by fire.
Incredibly, A Third Leader
Martin Ray during the l95Os "developed a reputation for great. wines sold at absolutley astronomical prices." Among his many pioneering achievements was to make the first 100% varietal wines from the world's best varieties. One of his neighbors was NASA research pilot George Cooper.
From Wings To Wine
In 1972, George left the sky to become a vintner, guided by the great Martin Ray. Today his flagship wine is our...
Wine of the Day
Cooper-Garrod Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 1995
The broad-sholdered Burgundian, Paul Masson, was the most flamboyant host of the four winemakers in our story, even entertaining the legendary Charlie Chaplin. Since this is a family-rated column we won't mention the 1917 shocker. (He gave a famous lady a bath in champagne.)
08/21/00—Swing & Sway with This Roh-Zay
08/18/00—The King of Zin?
08/17/00—The New Babylonian Times
08/16/00—Take A Chance
08/15/00—Big Butter Bombs
08/14/00—Norton's Number One
08/11/00—Win with Wyndham
08/09/00—Stir the Lees, If You Please
08/08/00—A Shark Attack
08/07/00—From Spuds to Buds
08/04/00—High Noon At Continental Air
08/03/00—When Harveys Went Kablooey
08/02/00—A Beautiful Story
This page created August 2000