NORTH GLENDALE — Standing near the rows of grapevines planted below the ancient barn at Deukmejian Wilderness Park, Stuart Byles breathed in deeply as he turned the handle of an antique grape crusher.
The aroma released as the crushed grapes plopped into the giant barrel below brought back childhood memories of sitting among the grapes of a Southern California vineyard, he said.
"Whenever I smell that new wine being made, I always think of that. Smell and memory are so intimately intertwined," said Byles, co-founder of the Stone Barn Conservancy, an offshoot of the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley dedicated to revitalizing the winemaking history of the region.
In the late 19th century, French immigrant Georges Le Mesnager planted vineyards in north Glendale and La Crescenta to use for the wines he sold at his downtown Los Angeles winery.
Glendale city officials planted the seven rows of grapevines at Deukmejian shortly after the park's purchase. The historical society took over cultivation of the grapes a few years ago when Byles, his wife Marie Yeseta and society President Mike Lawler founded the conservancy.