Dr. Jacob (sometimes known as James) B. Warfield was born in Ohio in 1819, and attended medical school in Cincinnati where he graduated in 1849. He practiced briefly in Missouri before coming to the goldfields of California, where he mined while opening what quickly became a successful practice in North San Juan, El Dorado County. He returned to stay with his parents briefly until his father died in 1856, when he returned to North San Juan.

In 1858 Warfield was elected to the California State Assembly, while he continued mining and merchandising, in addition to his practice. The following year he bought land in Glen Ellen as a speculation, and in 1860 he moved to San Francisco where he became a businessman while still practicing as a doctor.

In 1862 he began planting a 16 acre vineyard in Mission Grapes, calling his ranch in Glen Ellen Ten Oaks. He married Catherine Overton— who was always known as Kate— in 1864; she became very involved in farming as well as winemaking. Warfield went on to serve as California State Assemblyman from Sonoma County, and was considered to be fair and statesmanlike in his service.

After his death in 1878, Kate became one of the most famous winery owners in California, gaining as much recognition for her varietals as for her work in the vineyards, pioneering the use of rootstock to resist the root louse phylloxera, which decimated the wine industry worldwide for many years.