Happenstance brought me to Altipiano Vineyard & Winery in Escondido. Eager to pursue the many wineries springing up in the Ramona Valley AVA, I ventured out and much to my surprise, found this boutique winery off Highland Valley Road, just a few miles from San Diego.
Altipiano Vineyard & Winery was aptly named. Alti, (a variation of the word Alto) and the word piano, roughly translates from the Italian words meaning “Upper Plateau” ~ which is the ideal descriptor for the views off the back patio which overlook the dancing vines and the majestic valley below.
Peter and Denise Clarke are the owners of Altipiano Vineyard & Winery and are always on hand to personally welcome guests in the tasting room. Denise is the winemaker and has just released her first estate wines ~ 2010 Estate Brunello Sangiovese, 2012 Estate Barbera and 2012 Nero D’Avola.
Mentored by master wine makers throughout California, Denise takes to winemaking like a duck to water. She is enthusiastic, spirited, educated and willing to take risks to make the very best wines. Until this vintage, the Clarke’s purchased grapes from other areas to round out the tasting menu. It will be an exciting journey watching Denise evolve into an artisan winemaker. Upon meeting Peter and Denise, you’re treated as “family” which makes the wine tasting experience that much richer.
This weekend marks the 2014 grape harvest, or vendemmia, which means that there will be more great wines to look forward to in the coming years! Altipiano Vineyard & Winery is open Friday through Sunday and offers tours by appointment. Salute! www.altipianovineyard.com