Excursions. SAN FRANCISCO. 95. Route. 553
with many fine vineyards, is the starting-point of stages to White Sulphur
Springs (2 M.; 25 c), Etna Springs (16 M.; stage daily in 3 hrs.; fare 8 l1^),
and Angevin, on Howell Mountain, a plateau of pine and balsam firs, famous
for curative results in throat and lung maladies. — 73M. Calistoga (Calistoga,
$ 2), the terminus of the railway, is a pretty little town of 1200 inhab., with
several warm mineral springs. About 5 M. to the W. is the curious "Petri¬
fied Forest, a tract 4 M. loiig and 1 M. wide, over which are scattered the
remains of about 100 petrified trees. — About 12 M. to the N.W. of Ca¬
listoga rises Mt. St. Helena (4345 ft.), an extinct volcano, which may be
ascended on horseback and affords an extensive view. Near by is R. L.
Stevenson's 'Silverado'. From Calistoga stage-coaches run daily to (27 M.;
§ 2.30) the Geyser Springs (p. £52) and to points in Clear Lake District (p. 552).
Feom San Feancisco to Mount Diablo. — We proceed by ferry and
train to (36 M.) Martinez, as described at p. 564, and there take the San
Ramon branch -line (S. P. R.) to (13 M.) Walnut Creek. Here horses and
carriages can be hired for (7 M.) the summit of the mountain, of which two-
thirds may be done in carriage, the remainder on horseback or on foot.
Mt. Diablo (3855 ft.), a conspicuous object for many miles round and well
seen from San Francisco (28 M. distant as the crow flies), commands a very
extensive "View, including the valleys of the Sacramento to the N. and
the San Joaquin to the S., the Sierra Nevada from Lassen's Peak on the N.
to Mt. Whitney on the S., the Coast Range, and San Francisco.
Sonoma (Union Hotel, $l'/2), a city of 652 inhab., in the Sonoma Valley,
to the N. of San Pablo Bay, is interesting as one of the chief seats of
the Californian vine-culture. The wine is kept in tunnels excavated in
the hills of volcanic sandstone. Sonoma is reached by railway (37 M.)
from Tiburon (p. 552) or from (15 M.) Napa Junction (p. 552).
Californian Wine (communicated). — Wine-making in California
dates from an early period, the European vine having been brought here
by the early missionaries. No record has been found of the date of the.
event, nor can the species introduced be identified with any known sort.
It was probably brought from one of the Balearic Isles, the first mis¬
sionaries having all been Catalans from Majorca, or it was, perhaps, a
seedling raised on the spot. However this may be, it had attained a
wide diffusion before the transfer of the country to the United States
and was then found growing at almost all the Missions. Its fruit is
abundant and quite palatable for the table, but makes a strong heady
wine, not suited to the demands of commerce, though popular enough
among a pastoral people, whose lives were spent out of doors and largely
in the saddle. The first effort of the American immigration to improve
the native wines did not meet with a distinguished success. They rea¬
soned, justly enough, that California had within her borders every variety
of soil and a climate decidedly superior to that of any part of Europe,
because free from the unseasonable storms and inopportune frosts which
so affect the viticulturists of the old world. They were, however, ignorant
that besides' soil and climate it was indispensable, in order to make a
good wine, to have the proper sorts of grapes; for a fine wine can no
more be made from a vulgar grape than the proverbial 'silk purse from
a sow's ear'. In fact the most eminent French authority on the subject
lays down the rule broadly that '■the brand of the wine is in the grape1. The
distinctive character of the wine of Burgundy is derived from the Pinot
grape; and, in like manner, those of the Rhine, the Moselle, and the Medoc
derive their essential characteristics from the particular sorts of grapes
cultivated in those districts. But while the character of the wine depends
on the grape from which it is made, its quality, within the range of that
defined character, depends on soil, situation, exposure, and climate. All
this is now recognized as elementary truth, but was little known even
a couple of decades ago.
The Germans were the first to improve the native wines. Finding
the Mission grape did not make a wine suited to their national taste,