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 Anderson purchased 242 acres of the southeastern portion of Rancho Huichica from Jacob Leese and moved into the farmhouse. Anderson came to the US at age 23 and farmed a rented property for 17 years until he saved enough money to buy his own ranch. On his new land, Anderson grew wheat, hay, corn and oats. He also raised horses, cattle and hogs. Anderson married and raised a family on the ranch. He remained here until his death in 1918.
In 1947, Weston Coffield purchased the property from the Anderson children. 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.