In 1976 Henry and Mary Street, purchased three acres in the valley as a camping retreat. They soon discovered the numerous small vineyards in the valley. The families, who owned these vineyards, still remembered their strong family traditions of grape growing and winemaking. The seed had been planted for the Streets to establish their own vineyard. Henry took a course on grape growing, then researched viticulture varieties. French Hybrids were the first experimental planting, because this valley is 5800 feet above sea level. In 1978, on the advice of Jim Concannon, a California wine maker, they were encouraged to try Rieslings. Cuttings from Jim's vineyard in the Livermore Valley were planted in the Ponderosa Vineyard. When these proved successful, additional Riesling cuttings were obtained from the Wente Brothers, Monterey Peninsula Vineyards to expand the Street's Riesling vineyard. Henry then selected a cold-hardy clone of Pinot Noir from the University of California at Davis' mother vineyard to complete their vineyard expansion to over 6 acres. Their first commercial crop was harvested in 1982, purchased by La Chiripada Winery who proceeded to produce award winning Riesling wines. Then in 1991, after 8 years of commercial grape production, the Streets, ready for retirement, began the construction of the Ponderosa Winery building, Henry then attended winemaking classes at UC-Davis in California, and Mary studied accounting at the University of New Mexico.