The Criolla or “Mission grape” was first planted at San Juan Capistrano in 1779 and in 1783 the first wine was produced in Alta California at the mission winery. Work on the stone church was begun in 1797.
Some of the points of interest today are the wine and tallow vats, the old millstones, a hide tanning area, reproductions of plein air painting exhibit, Native American artifacts, a treasury, the padres quarters, the Serra Chapel and the bell wall.
The mission formed a shaky bridge for the Indians between the world of their ancestors and that of the Spaniards. Many of the Indians who lived at the missions were treated more like slaves workings in the agricultural fields and a large number died from disease.
We took time out for lunch at El Adobe. On the way back to continue our visit at the mission we strolled through a huge antique mall.