In 1938 Mathew A. Thomson Sr. purchased land on Los Carneros Avenue at a property tax auction. He, along with his son, Matthew A. Thomson Jr. farmed the land (pears, apples, and prunes) under the name “M.A. Thomson” until 1965 when M.A. Thomson was the last grower to have a pear contract in Napa County with California Canners and Growers.
In 1950 M.A. Thomson received a federal soil conservation grant to build the Carneros Creek flashboard dam and later in 1955 to build a 20 acre foot reservoir to irrigate the land. At just 12 years old and the oldest of five siblings, George A. Thomson was responsible for the spraying, spray reports, cultivation, irrigation and delivery of fruit. At that time harvest lasted 10 days and George was tasked to deliver 10 ton of fruit every day for 10 days during harvest to the Southern Pacific Railroad station, what is now the intersection of Trancas and Redwood Road in Napa Valley. The fruit was shipped across California by railway. Because of his irrigation knowledge George went to work for Rene di Rosa when he was a junior in high school. He was in charge of irrigation, rootstock and grafting for the de Rosa vineyards through his graduation from Sonoma State University.
In 1970 M.A. Thomson family members began planting 50 acres of dry farmed vineyards on Cuttings Wharf Road, 30 acres on Los Carneros followed and because of the designated water rights Thomson Vineyards were the first irrigated vineyards in Los Carneros. Matthew A. Thomson Jr., Mason Iund and Abbott Williams planted the land with a combination of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Matthew A. Thomson Jr., in his late seventies, transferred the responsibility of M.A. Thomson on his sons George and Matt Thomson in early 2000. Two acres of Merlot were planted on Monticello Road in the late 1990s and since 2003 George, “The Farmer” has been solely responsible for the vineyards at Los Carneros Avenue and Monticello Road.
Today The Farmer farms all three varietals, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot himself, and is dedicated to sustainable grape growing in the Napa Valley. Read the rest of the story in the Fall 2009 edition of Premium Grower.
About The Millennial Daughter & Blogger & Trouble Causer: Jennifer R. Thomson “The Millennial Daughter” didn’t want to go to UC Davis, they grow corn there and she told The Farmer so. Instead she graduated from Napa High School as a two sport athlete and went to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where they have tractor pulls. She has a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Communications and made The Farmer proud when she brought back a Master of Business Administration (MBA) to California after two years spent the Panhandle of Florida. One of just four women in her cohort, her thesis is titled The Economic Climate of the California Wine Industry.
Awarded the Huevos Badge on December 11, 2010 by the Vinotology Wine Blog for writing some of the ballsiest posts in the wine industry, unlike other wine business marketing departments she tweets directly from the vineyard while driving the Ford tractor, maintains a satellite office in San Francisco and is busy ruffling one Napa and Sonoma feather at a time. Meet her in person though, if you get the chance, and you’ll get a glimpse of just what the Next Generation of Thomson Vineyards is carrying on in Los Carneros – Legacy.