“produces high-quality Merolt”
Rick Alhona was born in the Telegraph Hill area of San Francisco, where it was quite common for Italians, Spanish, and Portuguese families to make their own wine. As a small child Rick remembers large lumbering trucks hauling grapes to the local home winemakers, and all the wonderful aromas that filled the air on those autumn days. Much later in Rick's life, he would experiment with beer, but it was wine that captivated his imagination and heart. After many years of experimentation, and hundreds of volumes on the subject of viticulture and winemaking, Rick decided to find a place where he could grow quality grapes in order to make the wine he longed for. After searching throughout most of Northern California, it was Rick's wife Patti who suggested they look toward Monterey County andCarmel Valley. This was where Patti lived as a child. An area that still held a very special place in her heart and memories, Patti knew the potential that this lovely area held for their future.The Alhonas settled on a beautiful area deep into Carmel Valley, called Cachagua. This was the ancestral home of the Esselen Indians. Mortars and pestles used by the Esselen are uncovered from time to time, and their presence is always felt. The land is composed mostly of sand, gravel, and rock; thus, rock walls are quite prevalent on the ranch's property.In 1991 Rick and Patti, along with their sons Chris and Matt, began the arduous task of planting the grapevines that would bring forth the wines they aspired to make. Summer temperatures range daily from 80 to 95 degrees and at night often fall to 60 degrees and below. Not only has Carmel Valley proven to be a magical area for the Alhonas, but it also has demonstrated itself to be a perfect climate for viticulture, in this case, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The family crest was created in honor of an ancestor who showed extraordinary bravery in battle, in the service of Ferdinand, then King of Spain. The gold cross symbolizes 'purity,' with the blue field denoting 'purpose.' The upper banner contains the Spanish words "Las Estrellas," the stars, and the lower banner has the original spelling of the family name "Arjona." Thus, "with purity of heart and steadfast purpose one can attain their dream by reaching for the stars."
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