Mira Loma, CA 91752
Cucamonga is located in San Bernardino County, about 45 miles east of Los Angeles. The storied Cucamonga Valley (aka. Cucamonga-Guasti Wine District) -- where vineyard planting began in 1838 -- has lost most of its once vast vineyard acreage to industrial development and the urban expansion of nearby Los Angeles and Orange Counties. When Prohibition hit in 1920, grapevine acres in Cucamonga numbered twice as many as Napa/Sonoma Counties combined. In the 1940s, this east/west oriented valley region hosted 60 wineries and over 35,000 acres of vine, as its thick-skinned grapes with high natural sugar levels proved ideal for the needs of east coast home winemakers.
Today, only three of the original wine-growing family wineries and less than 1,000 vineyard acres remain. The loss of vineyard land continues and some of the nation's oldest vines could disappear. The value of Cucamonga goes beyond the quality of its vines, as the region is also home to a strong tradition of unique fortified wines, including a highly regarded Triple Cream Sherry made by its smallest producer, the Biane winemaking family’s Rancho de Philo. But survivors persevere and, since the region became an AVA in 1995, the two major wineries, Galleano and Joseph Filippi, have focused on producing premium wines. Long time Temecula Valley winemakers including Etienne Cowper (Mount Palomar Winery), Joe Hart (Hart Winery) and Jon McPherson (South Coast Winery) have also experienced success with Cucamonga Valley fruit.