DAVID FULTON built the *first commercial stone wine cellar within the town limits of St. Helena in 1861.
*Earlier, John Patchett built the first winery in the town of Napa in1858. Charles Krug built a crude 22-foot diameter cellar with a thatched roof in 1861. It was located a mile north of the town of St. Helena and was replaced by a more substantial structure several years later.
David Fulton, with the funds he acquired through the sale of 15 of the forty acr4es he bought in 1860, began the construction of his stone wine cellar. Note: Dr. Crane who purchased land in 1859 south of Sulfer Creek that marked the southern border of town, didn’t start the construction of his first cellar until 1862.
David Fulton passed away in 1871 with his wife Mary running the operation for four years after. She hired William Scheffler in 1876 who continued operating the cellar another 12 years. With Mary’s health failing, she pulled back the winery operation and just sold grapes. The vineyard continued ownership and operation by the family through to today.
In 1995, Fulton Mather returned to his childhood ranch in this historic Napa Valley district of St. Helena as the heir and steward of the family vineyards. Today, Fulton and his wife, Dink have dedicated themselves to preserving the vineyards and maintaining the historic winery and cellar originally built by Fulton’s great grandfather, David Fulton.
The David Fulton Winery is located just a short walk east from downtown St. Helena, on Fulton Lane. The winery is recently restored and tucked beneath three large valley oaks (Quercus lobata). A replica of the old Fulton stone wine cellar is the lowest level of the three story building that sits at the northwest edge of the family vineyard. A few yards to the west are two large sentinel palm trees, a restored tank house and David Fulton’s original, historic farmhouse. The 14.5 acre vineyard itself stretches south from this point as if to run away from Mount St. Helena, a vast silhouette looming to the north and reminding us of its once violent volcanic nature. This romantic setting of old head trained vines enjoys early morning fog, warm afternoons and cool night air of the northern Napa Valley as well as the rich igneous alluvial soil of the local appellation.
Only a small number of cases of Petite Sirah are produced by the estate annually and distributed primarily to Wine Club members, fine California restaurants, specialty wine shops and other private collections. The bulk of fruit grown by David Fulton Vineyards are sold to three local and well received Napa Valley wineries noted for their fine quality wines at and reasonable prices.