A medium-bodied white with glints of pale gold, it offers aromas of honeydew, gooseberries and tomatillos, zesty acidity and hints of pleasant minerality.
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Fruit from the La Presa Vineyard (85%) and White Hills Vineyard was fermented and aged for 17 months in stainless steel.
Alta Maria Vineyards is a partnership between winemaker Paul Wilkins, James Ontiveros and Sao Anash.
Paul Wilkins and James Ontiveros were college buddies at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and were part of a small group of wine aficionados who founded a wine group, Vines to Wines. While still in college, Paul landed a job with renowned winemaker John Alban in the Edna Valley and eventually was offered an assistant winemaker position. He worked with John Alban for eight years. After graduation James worked as a grape buyer for Kendall-Jackson and later Gallo of Sonoma, an experience that allowed him to walk and learn from hundreds of vineyards all over California. James eventually became the Sales and Marketing Director for Bien Nacido Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley.
Paul left Alban Winery for winemaking consulting positions and James planted an 8 acre Pinot Noir vineyard on his family's Rancho Ontiveros. A mutual friend suggested Paul take a look at "what this guy James Ontiveros" was doing with his Pinot vineyard in Santa Maria. When Paul saw his old college friend it wasn't long before the two decided to reunite, this time to make wine. The reunion would prove to be fortuitous, bringing together Paul's expertise in winemaking and James vast knowledge of viticulture. Together they partnered with Sao Anash, former executive director of the Santa Barbara Vintner's Association and started Alta Maria Vineyards.
Alta Maria means "Higher or Heavenly Mary," referring to the name bestowed on the Santa Maria River by James' ancestor, Don Juan Pacifico Ontiveros in the 1800s. The label artwork for Alta Maria Vineyards features hand-hewn iron nails used by homesteaders before the Industrial Revolution introduced mass produced machine cut nails.
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