Alta Maria Vineyards
Alta Maria Vineyards was established in 2005 by James Ontiveros, featuring estate-sourced, single-site, single-vineyard wine. James also owns Ranchos de Ontiveros. His Native9 Pinot Noir represents the ninth generation of the Ontiveros family in California, going back to a 1781 land grant within the pueblo of Los Angeles. The family’s roots trace back to La Rioja in Old Spain in the 1500s.
Eventually, James’ fifth great-grandfather, Don Juan Pacifico Ontiveros, and his wife, Doña Martina, moved their extensive farming operation north to Santa Barbara County in search of water and more land. They settled in what would become the town of Santa Maria.
The wines of Alta Maria Vineyards are produced from high-quality fruit, carefully sourced from non-Ranchos de Ontiveros vineyards. The label is intended to showcase a broader selection of fruit and to demonstrate the unique qualities of other area sites and varieties beyond James’ own estate.
The vineyards are farmed sustainably and are a mix of older and newer plantings and clones. The wines were fermented in small batches, of which about 15% was whole-cluster fermented, then pressed, racked, and aged for eight months in French oak.
While James’ estate wines are crafted with an old-world approach, Alta Maria wines celebrate the fruit of the appellation. They are light, fresh, and savory. The name Alta means high or elevated and exudes a refined aura that, like fine wine, will age well. The name Maria is an homage to the ancestors of James Ontiveros who left a legacy of love for the lush Santa Maria River valley.