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Ranchos des Ontiveros

Santa Ynez Valley AVA


After nine generations, the Ontiveros family is still farming and ranching on the same land in California’s Santa Maria Valley, now offering small-lot, estate-grown wines that beautifully reflect the terroir of this special place.

A culmination of wines expressing the unique climate, soil, and capabilities of the Santa Maria Valley, Ranchos de Ontiveros tells the story of nine generations of farmers who have been dedicated to the same plot of land since 1781. By combining the valley’s cool Mediterranean climate with purposeful farming and passionate winemakers, Ranchos de Ontiveros hopes to craft wines as complex as the story of how they came to be.

It all began with Josef Ontiveros who rode into Alta California during the American Revolution in 1781 as a part of the Rivera Expedition. Josef would become the first in a line of generations of California ranchers and farmers, and today that legacy is still going strong with James Ontiveros who is proud to grow and craft small-lot wines of superb quality and complexity.

The Ranchos de Ontiveros Winery operates two estate vineyards in the Santa Maria Valley, the Rancho Viñedo Vineyard and Rancho Ontiveros Vineyard, located just four miles apart. While relatively close to one another, the vineyards are vastly different and offer a variety of opportunities for producing a range of wine grapes and wine styles for the Ontiveros family winery.

The Rancho Viñedo Vineyard is nestled in the western portion of the original Rancho Tepusquet Land Grant and was planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir back in 1973, offering unique old vine character. The Rancho Ontiveros Vineyard is a newer property, but its history is something special. James Ontiveros and his sister grew up on the Rancho Ontiveros property, which was once a small, humble cattle ranch their parents worked hard to make their home.

Located at the southernmost side of the Santa Maria Valley, Rancho Ontiveros sits at over 700 feet in elevation and overlooks the Rancho Tepusquet Land Grant. It was an area that had been dismissed due to historic oil operations, but James saw an opportunity and at the tender age of 23, planted his first vineyard there to Pinot Noir. At the time, this was a risky and unconventional choice, but today his fruit is among the most exciting and sought after in the region.

Under the guidance of winemaker Justin Willett, Ranchos de Ontiveros offers small-lot, estate-grown wines that stay true to the land, while expressing the time, place and varietal. In addition to their Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, they also offer an ultra boutique bottling of Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from a premium site in the Santa Ynez Valley. It is with passion, pride, and a dedication to family farming tradition that Ranchos de Ontiveros presents their latest achievement. Cheers!

Map of the area