FARMER/WINEMAKER/VITICULTURALIST JAMES ONTIVEROS - NATIVE 9 / ALTA MARIA
Alta Maria is a small, artisan winery focusing on producing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the cold and oceanic Santa Maria Valley appellation in Santa Barbara County. Founded by 9th Generation California James Ontiveros, and Winemaker and long-time college friend Paul Wilkins, Alta Maria’s wines are inspired by the old world regions of France and are classic examples of purity, balance and complexity. We strive to make the best wines possible in a very conscientious manner and employ organic and sustainable practices leaving no indelible mark on the people and places around us.
The name “Alta Maria” refers to the upper Santa Maria River, which James’ ancestor, Don Juan Pacifico Ontiveros crossed on Saint Mary’s Day, 1855, as he drove cattle from Southern California to his new home at Rancho Tepusquet – now home to some of the globe’s most renowned vines. The picturesque river flowing through the valley was the force responsible for sustaining ranch life in those early days.
The artwork for Alta Maria Vineyards features hand-hewn iron nails used by homesteaders in Santa Maria before the Industrial Revolution introduced mass-produced, machine-cut nails. Despite its lowly function, each nail is unique from the next according to the conditions in which it was made and the expertise of the craftsman.
NATIVE 9 WINES:
“Native9 is the fulfillment of my own American story two centuries in the making. Tracing my roots back to the first men and women who settled in the Santa Maria Valley, I worked for hourly wages along with my parents to buy a small plot of land our ancestors’ 8,900-acre Mexican land grant: a modest cattle ranch where I planted my 8-acre vineyard and a panoramic view of the land that had once been our own. Planted in 1997 by my own two hands with the help of friends and family while I attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Rancho Ontiveros Vineyard is now considered one of the finest sites for Pinot Noir in California. As a natural extension of my deeply personal vision for this vineyard,Native9 is made in small lots with a nod to bothOld World sensibilities and New World stylistic freedom with the help of my longtime friend and vetted winemaker, Paul Wilkins. Though I wasn’t born into the wine industry by traditional means, I have vine-growing and farming in my blood. The name Native9 reflects my gratitude to the generations of California farmers and ranchers who came before me.”
DAVID W. HEJL - FOUNDER & WINEMAKER, DOMAINE DELLA
DOMAINE DELLA wines are released in the Spring and Fall over a three week period twice a year to active “list” members. Join the list www.domainedella.com