June 17, 1778: On this day, Gregory Blaxland was born. Gregory Blaxland was a pioneering English farmer and explorer in Australia, well known for initiating and co-leading the first successful European settlement crossing of the Blue Mountains. Blaxland, who required more grazing land, received Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s assent early in 1813 for an attempt to traverse the Great Dividing Range, often known as the Blue Mountains, by following the mountain ridges rather than the rivers and valleys. Though it stopped short of actually crossing the mountains), the trip proved a success, as it allowed the settlers to access and utilize the land west of the mountains for farming. He was able to gain the cooperation of William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth. It took 21 days to cross and only 6 days to return. Blaxland is credited with being among the first settlers to plant grapes for winemaking. He worked making wine for the following few years. He had brought vines from the Cape of Good Hope where he discovered a blight-resistant variety. The diaries of Blaxland demonstrate that he had a firm understanding of the scale at which Australian pastoral and agricultural endeavors would be financially successful. He tried to convince Governor Macquarie to approve a plan for the exploitation of the interior by a sizable agricultural company similar to the later Australian Agricultural Company of the 1820s in 1814 when he was nearly bankrupt due to drought and depression like many others.

June 17, 1996: On this day, Halter Ranch vineyard was initiated with recognition and continued to grow until it reached its current size of 200 acres. Halter Ranch is home to twenty different grape varieties planted on the property’s steepest and most south-facing slopes. These slopes reach a height of 1,950 feet and get an abundance of sun throughout the day. In addition to focusing on quality in the vineyard, we are also committed to using grape-growing techniques that are friendly to the environment.

June 17, 2020: Palos Verdes Peninsula AVA was established, located in the southwestern part of Los Angeles County. It is one of the county’s newest AVAs. Due to its proximity to the water, the 30,000-acre appellation is strongly influenced by the maritime environment. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are their primary grapes.

For more dates in wine history, click here.

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