THE BACK STORY
The winery is located on the Old Creek Ranch, which is part of a 22,000-acre Spanish land grant (Rancho Ojai) awarded to Don Fernando Tico dating back to the early history of California. In the late 1800's, Antonio Riva of northern Italy (a check in Paris, London, and later San Francisco) purchased the ranch and built a winery on the property. Riva's wines were made without electricity and utilized gravity as a means to move the wine in the processing area. This conveyance method has been rediscovered today as the "latest and best method" for fruit conveyance as it is less stressful than the currently utilized pumping methods. Riva produced wine until 1942, including the prohibition years when wine purchasers would leave an order and money on a clothesline and return to pickup a jug of red wine left at the base of an oak tree. On one occasion Mr. Riva was warned the FBI was coming to raid the winery. All wine beyond what was legal for one family to produce was dumped prior to the FBI's arrival.
The Maitland Family purchased the property in 1976 with the intention of revitalizing the old ranch and were later approached to start a new winery on the property. The operation was small, intending to rely on a small but dedicated clientele with an interest in local history and fine wine. In 1981 the first vintage was introduced with many award-winning wines to follow.
Today the Old Creek Ranch is an 850-acre cattle ranch with a winery and fruit orchards and is owned by the Holguin Family who purchased the property in June 2015, bringing a new vision to the Ranch. The first phase of improvements included a new wine tasting room, road & parking improvements and the expansion & addition of grassy picnic areas along outdoor guest areas with handcrafted lounge chairs and couches.
A vineyard of 20 acres was planted during the 1980's but, sadly, fell prey to the bacterium that causes Pierce's Disease. The winery currently outsources grapes from northern Santa Barbara County and the Paso Robles area. The Holguin's are in the process of installing new vineyards and eventually will have 40 acres of vines at the Ranch.
While enhancing the property, the Holguin Family is careful to maintain the feel and look of the Old Creek Ranch so guests know the property will continue to provide enjoyment as it has for so many years in the past, and will for many more years to come!