Ottimino Estate Vineyards
Russian River Valley AVA
Carrying on the tradition of producing the best possible Zinfandel wines
The legacy behind Ottimino Estate Vineyards originates from lofty dreams and ambitions of a young boy living in Altopascio, Italy. Ottimino Crisiani earned his name, meaning “Little Eight” in Italian, due to being the youngest of eight siblings. Ottimino took the first steps towards a new life when he immigrated to America in 1913, which would only be the first of many achievements awaiting Ottimino as he ventured towards the West Coast.
Settling in the small town of Occidental, CA, Ottimino purchased land above Green Valley and began planting Zinfandel vines. His wines quickly became favorites in the area - a feat that gave Ottimino great pride.
He was not alone in his journey, however, meeting and becoming quick friends with his neighbors Al Bello and Brad Alper, who shared the same vision and passion for wine as Ottimino. As time elapsed Ottimino decided to move back to Italy at the age of 95. Although never outgrowing his dedication to the vines, it was time to pass on his legacy to Brad Alper.
In 1999, Alper, bought the 8-acres belonging to Ottimino. He took on the management and winegrowing responsibilities but knew a piece was missing and enlisted premium winemaker, William Knuttel. Knuttel’s philosophy of traditional winemaking and creating well-balanced, polished wines lead him to high positions at various wineries in Sonoma. His classical technique and history of outstanding wines fit perfectly into the fold of Alper’s vision, who knew it was the direction Ottimino would have wanted for his winery.
Today the operation is run by Alper and Knuttel with help from Bello which now consists of three vineyards: Ottimino Estate Vineyards, Rancho Bello Vineyards and Biglieri Vineyard. Utilizing estate-grown grapes and those from quality vineyards across Sonoma County, the entity carries on the tradition of producing the best possible Zinfandel wines. By doing so they honor the memory of Ottimino and his story of the quintessential American Dream.