Filoli Estate Vnyd??

Was finishing up JasonWilson’s Godforsaken Grapes book last night. Towards the end, he briefly/cryptically refers to Filoli Estate:
FiloliEstate ,
located in Woodside. They have a very complete collection of more than 200 native American and hybrid grapes in a vineyard there. I can not find any additional information on this treasured vnyd on the WebSite or elsewhere. Man…just think of the GemischterSatz you could make from this vnyd!!

Anybody ever visited this vnyd or this Estate and have additional information?


Do you mean “Filoli”?

Yes he does. His link goes to the Filoli website.

My wife and I have taken my mother to Filoli Gardens a couple of times, it is a beautiful estate. I had no idea, however, that they had a vineyard there, much less a vineyard chock full of native American wine grapes.

Well, Mike…I sent them an e-mail of inquiry today…but not heard back yet. Will post here what they respond with.

I’ve been to Filoli a few times and wasn’t aware of this. Doing some Googling, I found the following.

Filoli’s Gentlemen’s orchard and the fruit garden currently contain […] 164 American table grape hybrids.


Looks like they do orchard tours too, probably in summer/late fall?:

I think it’s part of their orchard and is mainly table grapes. The orchard was neglected for years and later restored starting in the mid 1990s, not sure how many of the vines were original although the orchard supposedly only has historically accurate fruit. Adam Tolmach’s sister-in-law was involved with Filoli and the orchard restoration for many years.



Adam Tolmach’s brother and his wife run/ran the garden there for many years. Supposedly Adam’s brother is a beermaking genius.

Mel, as someone with similar interests, I am very intrigued by this heirloom gardening, beer making genius. Sounds like he might live in the bay area? Do you know anything else about him?

Jeffrey and Lucy Tolmach moved back to the Ojai area, I think now live and farm on Ojai Vineyards property.


Thanks, Al. I was passing along old news.

My wife is a Filoli member, and their very best annual event occurs each Fall when they offer samples of their heirloom apples, pears, and grapes. The fruits are amazingly varied, tasty, and interesting. But to my knowledge they do not fernent any of their grapes into wine.

It’s an interesting story and a surprising connection. The Tolmachs were at Filoli almost from its beginning as a public site and worked there for 35 years.


I got a response from Jim Salyards on their grape program at Filoli. He also sent me a much more detailed report from Carolyn Curtis on the grape program that is interesting reading.

So for wine afficianados, this grape collection is not of a whole lot of interest. It appears that they are mostly table grapes. The vine material is available to those of interest in propagating them, but they have no program in place to share this plant material on any sort of systematic basis, including FPS.

He sounds l a little shaky on facts there.

He doesn’t mention who created those hybrids or what they are. Many were created for winemaking. I’d bet several are quite suitable. Terre Vox figured out some that work well for their vineyard, and how best to make them. Many of our common table grapes are vinifera. Maybe not top tier, but I’ve had quite good Sultana (Thompson), which probably came from a better than usual site. Most of the best American and American hybrid grapes are not labrusca, and have some amazing unique aromatics. There are many other American grape species (and debate and classifying them, so you’ll get different numbers.)