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The Near-Death of California Cabernets

Some of the most riveting cabernets throughout California have all traced their parentage back to three clones (or genetic subtypes), simply known as clones 07, 08, and 11. The three were imported from Bordeaux (allegedly from Château Margaux) by Irish immigrant James Concannon, founder of Concannon Vineyard in the Livermore Valley, east of San Francisco. (He was also the first Irishman to own a California winery). Concannon’s agent in Bordeaux was the legendary San Francisco lawyer-turned-grapevine-dealer Charles Wetmore. While many clones died out during the Prohibition in the 1920s, the “Bordeaux/Concannon clones” survived the 13-year ban on wine. All thanks to Concannon’s reinvention of itself as the lead supplier of altar wine to the Archbishop of San Francisco.

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