Ancient Peaks Winery represents the shared vision of three longtime local winegrowing and ranching families—the Filipponis, Rossis and Wittstroms. Two generations are actively involved in the winery’s daily operations, all dedicated to producing extraordinary wines from Margarita Vineyard. 

Origins of Ancient Peaks 

Rob Rossi acquired Santa Margarita Ranch in 1999. His friends Doug Filipponi and Karl Wittstrom soon joined him as partners in the ownership of the ranch, which they had all regarded as a special property for many years. That same year, the Robert Mondavi family planted Margarita Vineyard on the ranch under a lease agreement (click here for more background on the Mondavi connection). 

In 2005, the three families acquired ownership and control of Margarita Vineyard. The obvious potential of the vineyard ultimately inspired the three families to become vintners as well as winegrowers. They knew that they could cherry-pick their favorite blocks and make distinctive wines with a strong sense of place.   

The name Ancient Peaks was chosen to honor the towering Santa Lucia Mountains that border Margarita Vineyard. These peaks define the land’s complex geology and regulate the vineyard’s climate, ultimately shaping the character of the wines. 

A Rich Viticultural History

Santa Margarita Ranch enjoys a long and illustrious cultural pedigree, beginning with the Chumash and Salinan Indians more than 10,000 years ago. In the 1770s, the ranch became part of Father Junipero Serra’s famed Mission trail

Grapes were first planted at the ranch by Franciscan missionaries in 1780. Today, Santa Margarita Ranch remains one of California’s oldest continuously operated cattle ranches.

We are proud to be stewards of the ranch’s winemaking tradition and its legacy of early California rancho hospitality.