The vineyard, located in the Coombsville area of the Napa Valley, has been in the Haynes family since 1885 when it was purchased by Dunc Haynes’ great uncle, James Whigord, from Nathan Coombs for “3,135 Dollars gold coin.
Thereafter, the property was maintained as a farm planted mostly in prunes but also in almonds, peaches and grapes. After being burned out by the fire that followed the 1906 earthquake in San Francicisco, Dunc’s mother, then Irene Whitford, who later authored and photographed Ghost Wineries of Napa Valley, and her Whitford family lived on the Coombsville property for a period of time.
The Whitford’s, including Dunc’s grandfather, William Whitford, fourth from the left, and his great uncle, James Whitford, fifth from the left, circa 1900.
On the advice of Louis M. Martini, founder of the Louis M. Martini Winery and a client of the law firm where Dunc practiced law, Dunc planted the property with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Haynes Vineyard was born and for a number of years, grapes were sold to Martini Winery, and then Stags Leap. When the wines from the Haynes grapes began winning awards, Dunc recognized the extraordinary quality of the vineyard and Whitford Cellars came into being.