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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Marcelin Gaye

The cultivation of grapes, which from time immemorial has engaged the attention of a large proportion of the population of the world, and which at one time was one of the chief resources of California, is still extensively carried on in Sonoma county, and those who follow this branch of agriculture find it a remunerative as well as pleasant occupation. Among the most successful grape growers in the vicinity of Sebastopol is Marcelin Gaye, who owns a ranch whose location is particularly advantageous for the p roper cultivation of this luscious fruit. He has given a great deal of attention to the scientific side of grape culture, and that his efforts along this line have been of the practical and useful kind is strikingly apparent from his universally large yield, which averages one hundred and twenty-five tons a year.

That Mr. Gaye takes so kindly to grape culture and is so successful in following it is not surprising when it is known that he comes of a race renowned for their understanding and appreciation of the grape. In a home nestled among the vine-clad mountain slopes of southern France Mr. Gaye was born August 22, 1849, the son of parents who never left their picturesque surroundings for a home in newer and untried lands. Marcelin Gaye remained in the locality of his birth throughout boyhood, youth and young manhood, in the meantime preparing himself for the business world by learning the bakerís trade first, and later by learning the wine-makerís trade. It was with a working knowledge of both that he came to the United States in 1875, when he was twenty-six years old, coming direct from the eastern metropolis, at which he landed on these shores, to California. The same year, 1875, found him in San Francisco, where he readily found employment at the bakerís trade, which he followed in that city for twenty-two years. It was at the end of this long and successful experience as an expert baker that he gave up the business and came to Sonoma county and put to practice his knowledge of the grape industry. Coming to Sebastopol in 1894 he purchased fifty acres of vineyard land on a hill one mile north of town, and here he has been engaged ever since in raising grapes and manufacturing them into wine. The Valley View winery, as his ranch is known, is truly named, being located on a hill, than which no better location could be found in the county. It is a fact well known to vineyardists that the grape sugars better when grown high and dry on hillsides than on low or level land, and this feature is undoubtedly one of the reasons of Mr. Gayís remarkable success. During the season of 1909 he manufactured fifteen thousand gallons of wine, both red and white, a statement which will give the reader some idea of the enormous business maintained by the Valley View winery. The Valley View brand of wine is well known and in great demand throughout all parts of the country, being sold from the ranch in wholesale quantities only, in casks and barrels.

In San Francisco in 1879, Mr. Gaye was united in marriage with Miss May Dustin, also a native of France, and four children have been born to them, Albert, Adel, Liza and Lawrence.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011