The Birth of the Boutique Wineries

Bob Mullen was an early pioneer who, like Emmett H. Rixford, had a “day job” with a passion for growing and making premium wines in Woodside, which has been considered one of California’s great growing wine regions.

Bob’s neighbor on Kings Mountain Road had a backyard vineyard, and he was hooked after the first day of picking grapes. Another friend had bought the historic La Questa property, allowing Bob and his volunteers to harvest the grapes that would result in the first bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon in 1962.

The last bottle of Rixfords’ La Questa Cabernet Sauvignon, alongside the first bottle of Woodside Vineyards’ wine bottles in 1962.

The following year, Woodside Vineyards was founded with a bond number to sell wine to local restaurants and markets. Roberts Market in Woodside was the first. Following that, Bob assembled a small group of workers to bring back and preserve other old vineyards in Woodside, such as the La Questa Vineyard, which was planted in 1883, and the Hopper Vineyard was established in 1895.

Woodside Vineyards is still growing and harvesting wine grapes from over forty backyard vineyards distributed around Woodside and Portola Valley today. The grapes are skillfully handcrafted into their variety of rare premium wines that people have loved for years.

Woodside Vineyards, founded by Bob Mullen in 1963, has played a vital role in preserving the Santa Cruz Mountains’ historic vineyards and winemaking heritage, which dates back over 165 years.

In the early 1960s, there was a winemaking revival in Woodside and San Mateo County, with a drive to rehabilitate historic vines and plant new varietals to boost grape production.

The Santa Cruz Mountains Appellation soil comprises decomposed rock, clay, loam, and limestone. The abundant mineral content in the wine gives it a fresh minerality that balances out any sweetness from other fruit flavors or residual sugar. This leaves you with a lengthy finish on your palate but still feeling refreshed!