Ancient Peaks Winery

A family-owned winery founded upon a single estate vineyard that is remarkable in location, and unique in history. Co-owned by Karl Wittstrom, Doug Filipponi and Rob Rossi, it’s very clear that much thought and effort goes into Ancient Peaks Winery, from the production itself to the care of the historic Ranch, rich in flora and fauna. The Margarita Vineyard is found amid the Santa Lucia mountain range, the only vineyard in the vicinity. The surrounding Santa Margarita Ranch was first planted to vines by Franciscan missionaries in 1774, and has uniquely complex soils, the most spectacular one being found along a block called Oyster Ridge, where the ground is riddled with petrified oyster shells – indicating the land’s origins as an uplifted sea bed, even though today it is 14 miles from the sea! The high calcium content of the soil yields high-toned flavours with pretty aromatics. It is well worth booking in for a tour with one of the owners around the 14,000 acre ranch and vineyard, as not only is it extremely beautiful but you can also get a real hands-on introduction to the wines and the land. Sustainable practices are employed to nurture the natural essence of the grapes, and small-lot methods ensure that varietal authenticity is retained. The 2009 Renegade Red is a delicious blend of Syrah, Malbec and Petit Verdot, and the Oyster Ridge Red is also extremely good. For the adventurous visitor, arrange a zip-line canopy tour on the Ranch through Margarita Adventures. Vineyard and Ranch tours can be booked on Saturdays at 1.30pm. “B” El Camino Real, Santa Margarita. Tel.: +1 805 365 7045.