Over 35 years ago, Catharine Niven envisioned a small vineyard in front of her Edna Valley home that would deliver high quality wines.
To achieve her goal, she bucked popular California viticultural trends and looked to the old world for her inspiration. She was one of the first women to own a winery and one who wasn’t afraid to do things differently. Baileyana, named for the place where she met her husband Jack, soon outgrew her small home vineyard. It has since been sourced from our estate Paragon Vineyard, Jack’s pioneering plantings going back to 1973. Baileyana offers beautiful, cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which are refined, rich, and perfectly balanced. She wasn’t entirely surprised by Baileyana’s early success, but Catharine didn’t dream that her small project would become the family legacy that it is today.
Now in the expert hands of the next two generations, the wines remain true to her pioneering spirit, as well as to the genuine, elegant style she exuded when walking into any room.
“The Niven Family, pioneers of the Edna Valley, have been here since day one—living, breathing and farming their historic Paragon Vineyard since 1973.”
Jack and Catharine Niven came to San Luis Obispo in the early 1970s with the vision to plant a vineyard in what was then a valley of dairy farms and dry farmed garbanzo beans. After working with the top viticulture professors from UC Davis and Fresno State, Jack determined the perfect location and planted the Paragon Vineyard in 1973. Home to the oldest continually producing vines in the region, the Niven family has owned and farmed this vineyard for more than 40 years. Jack later went on to petition to establish Edna Valley as an official American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 1982.
The second and third generations of the Niven family have since continued his legacy. Today their portfolio focuses on exploring the endless potential and diversity in their historic Paragon Vineyard.
The Historic Independence Schoolhouse, built as a one-room schoolhouse in 1909 for the local farming community, has since been updated and now houses the tasting room where Baileyana is poured along with its sister wineries from the Niven Family.
The Niven Family pioneered the Edna Valley with the planting of their historic Paragon Vineyard back in 1973.
At the foot of our Paragon Vineyard lies Islay Hill, the last extinct volcano in a string known as the “Seven Sisters” stretching from Morro Bay to our estate.
Our entire estate is SIP Certified Sustainable. We are proud to say that we have farmed in a sustainable fashion since the beginning.
The Niven Family is joined by a supremely talented team to help us produce our diverse library of wines. From the vine to the bottle, everyone works together as one and we’d love for you to get to know the leaders of our team.
Christian was born to make wine. A native of the Burgundy region of France, he grew up surrounded by vineyards. Christian decided early on to become a winemaker, studying enology and winemaking at the University of Dijon. There, he honed his skills early and has since made wine in numerous countries across five continents. The opportunity to make exceptional wines in San Luis Obispo County led him to the Central Coast. He delights in selecting among the hand picked fruit from our estate’s exclusive Firepeak blocks. He has been kicking dirt in our vineyards for almost 20 years. He has paired that time and knowledge into wines that capture the essence of the Edna Valley all while showcasing the unique attributes of our property.When Christian is not crafting our classic Baileyana wines, he is an avid chef, photographer, and guitar player.
Scott Williams has been farming the Niven Family’s Paragon Vineyard for over a decade. He is a cool climate expert who knows the Edna Valley like the back of his hand. Ask him what the average rainfall or highest temperature day was back in 2006 and he’ll probably know the answer. When he’s not nurturing the vines that produce grapes for our wines, you might find him mountain biking on one of SLO’s many trails, training for a rock climbing trip up El Capitan, or at the beach surfing.