|Native9 is the fulfillment of my own American story two centuries in the making. Tracing my roots back to the first men and women who settled in the Santa Maria Valley, I worked for hourly wages along with my parents to buy a small plot of land our ancestors' 8,900-acre Mexican land grant: a modest cattle ranch where I planted my 8-acre vineyard and a panoramic view of the land that had once been our own. Planted in 1997 by my own two hands with the help of friends and family while I attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Rancho Ontiveros Vineyard is now considered one of the finest sites for Pinot Noir in California. As a natural extension of my deeply personal vision for this vineyard, Native9 is made in small lots with a nod to both Old World sensibilities and New World stylistic freedom with the help of my longtime friend and vetted winemaker, Paul Wilkins.
Though I wasn't born into the wine industry by traditional means, I have vine-growing and farming in my blood. The name Native9 reflects my gratitude to the generations of California farmers and ranchers who came before me.
- James Ontiveros
Viticulturalist & Owner, Native9