KOHLER & FROHLING
California's Pioneer Wine House
Elise and Charles Kohler
The business grew fairly rapidly. Unfortunately, John Frohling passed away in 1862 but undaunted, Charles Kohler continued on with Kohler & Frohling wines. In the 1870's, Kohler recognized the need to diversify and in 1874 he purchased the 350 acre Tokay vineyard in Glen Ellen (eventually sold to Jack London) in Sonoma County. He adapted and expanded the winery on-site, making it the firm's operations center. He also expanded into California's central valley, the most notable effort, the creation of the 1,200 acre Sierra Vista Vineyard in Fresno County as well as the Natomas Mining and Water Company in Sacramento County.
In it's heyday, Kohler & Frohling dominated the California wine market, selling in all states east of the Rockies, into Mexico and South America, Canada, Japan, the East Indies and Europe. They sold Hock, Muscat, Tokay, Gutedel, Claret, Malvoisie, Burgundy, Sherry, Port, Angelica, Zinfandel, Riesling, Brandies, sparkling wines and many other varietals. The state's oldest label, it's heritage includes the California ranches and missions, the Gold Rush
Kohler & Frohling Offices,
626 Montgomery Street,
the current site of the Transamerica Building in
and mass immigration, the transcontinental railroad, Jack London ranch, numerous counties and even Disneyland. It is the quintessential California brand.Kohler & Frohling created its impressive variety of wines through development of vineyards, not just in Northern California but also in the southern part of the state, where their operations began. They needed significantly more grapes than their small original vineyard could provide, and a greater variety than the mission grape, which was more suitable for eating than for making wine. Kohler came up with a plan to set up an agricultural community along the Santa Ana River on property bought from a nearby ranch. He hired a manager to develop the land for investors who would buy into the enterprise and continue to work while the land was prepared for winegrowing. The investors came from San Francisco's burgeoning German colony. They were, in large part, tradesmen not farmers. This was an unusual undertaking to say the least. It could easily have been a disaster, yet it was an enormous success for Kohler & Frohling as well as for the entrepreneurs of the Santa Ana River community, which they called Anaheim.