Our winery is located at the site of one of the oldest apple orchards in Washington, started by Mr. James Dumas in the late 1800s and called Pomona Ranch. Dumas Station was the name for the apple-packing shed for the ranch–the blue building you see here, where the apples would be sorted and packed for travel to the coast. At the time, competing railroad lines on each side of the building vied to haul the apples, one of which you can still see today.
The first railroad track connecting Walla Walla and Dayton was completed by the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company on July 14, 1881, and would later become part of the Union Pacific rail line. On July 19, 1881, engine No. 439 pulled the first passenger train to leave Dayton for Walla Walla, and we now have a wine named after this engine, called Cuvee No. 439.
Other railroads in the area were originally “a narrow gauge, with the first rails made of wood and covered with rawhide and later metal. Because of the materials use in the construction of the railroad, the builders had many maintenance problems. Unfortunately sometimes the wooden track would pop loose and come through the bottom of the car floor injuring a passenger. Coyotes and other animals would eat the rawhide from the rails.”
One writer at the time labeled Dumas “the Apple King of the Walla Walla Valley, whose Pomona orchard is fast becoming a synonym for the best apples on earth.” In keeping with the rich history & heritage of the area, we have created a line of labels for our wines featuring vintage train pictures from all over the United States.
Information courtesy of Dave Burkhart, grandson of James Dumas, in his book “From the Schoolhouse to Pomona Ranch” and Dayton Historical Depot Society.