Carneros Farmhouse’s known history dates to the 1830’s and to a San Francisco pioneer named Jacob Leese. In 1837 Leese married María Rosalia Vallejo, sister of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo. His relationship with the powerful Vallejo family served him well. In 1841, Alta California Governor Micheltoreno granted Leese the 18,704-acre tract of land encompassing what is now southwestern Napa County and southeastern Sonoma County, part of which is the current home of Carneros Farmhouse. The tract became known as Rancho Huichica.
With the cession of California to the United States following the Mexican-American War, the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ensured the land grants would be honored. The Public Land Commission formally patented the Rancho Huichica grant to Leese in 1859. A few years later in the early 1860’s, the existing farmhouse was built.
In 1883, Danish immigrant Charles Andersen purchased 242 acres of the southeastern portion of Rancho Huichica from Jacob Leese and moved into the farmhouse with his wife, Anne. Andersen arrived in the US at age 23. Prior to purchasing the property from Leese, he farmed a rented property for 17 years until he saved enough money for his own place. With his new land secured, he and Anne moved onto the property and grew wheat, hay, corn and oats. They also raised horses, cattle and hogs. Charles Andersen died in 1918. Two years later, Anne gifted the property to her close friend, Ida Winter. The property remained with the Winter family for the next three decades.
In 1947, Weston Coffield purchased the property from the Winter family. Coffield worked as a chiropractor in Napa, married Loma Robinson and raised two children, Carolyn and Bill. The family split their time between their home in Napa and the Leese farmhouse. Progressive and smart, Loma headed the Napa County Farm Bureau for many years. Over time, Weston and Loma sold most of the 242 acres to fund their retirement. But 5.5 acres remained in the family with daughter, Carolyn.
In 1997, Carolyn sold the remaining 5.5 acres to her daughter and son-in- law, Kris and Matt Wilkinson, who are the current owners and founders of Carneros Farmhouse.
Kris and Matt raised their two daughters on the ranch and reside there today. They planted four acres of chardonnay in 2000. Kris and Matt sell their fruit to Schramsberg Winery where it goes into the ultra-premium J. Schram sparkling wine program.
In 2000, Kris and Matt planted Chardonnay on their Carneros property. Since then, they have been fortunate to work with many top-tier wineries. They currently sell their fruit to Schramsberg Vineyards in Calistoga. In previous years, they have worked with Acacia Winery, Cakebread Cellars, Miner Family Winery, Saintsbury, and Stags' Leap Winery.