1860-1864: Building a Winery
After nearly two years of making saddles, horse-drawn carts and cast iron parts, he established his own vineyard with the purchase of a 40 acre parcel of land from Frank Stratton in January 12, 1860. A couple of months later, in the spring of that year, he planted approximately 6 acres of grape vines. The next year, anticipating more mature harvests to come, he sold 15 undeveloped acres to the east to finance his second building, the first stone wine cellar within the town limits of St. Helena. The 48 by 28 foot cellar was more than double the size of Dr. Crane’s and triple the depth and floor plan of Charles Krug’s “small rude cellar”, Krug and Crane both living outside the town limits and all three (to include Fulton) starting their winery structures at roughly the same time. Fulton hired Antone Rossi of Spring Valley, and together they hauled away 1,000 square yards of dirt and moved in 100 square yards of rhyolite rock quarried from the valley’s eastern hillsides to build the cellar walls. Above ground the winery was a board and batten structure made of redwood planks milled from trees taken from the western hillsides. There are no records of when the structure was completed, but given the work involved it probably took no longer than a year before it was functional.