Our History

Our vineyard is our passion, our wine is our bounty

Rancho Maria is a small family owned and operated vineyard located in the heart of the Dry Creek Valley. Once a rugged hillside, owners Monte & Stella Hansen transformed the property into a beautiful lush garden enriched with fruit orchards, vegetable beds, and colorful flowers.

Monte Hansen, once a sheriff in Sonoma County, spent his working days driving through the rolling hills and back roads of Petaluma, Dry Creek and Alexander Valley. After spending years patrolling Sonoma County, Monte decided to purchase a little ranch on the slopes of Dry Creek, where he lives with his wife, Stella. He tried raising cattle and horses, but soon realized that he could be getting much more out of the land.

When Monte decided it was time to try his hand at growing grapes, he spent countless hours researching and gathering resources. He settled on St. George rootstock and planted Merlot, which was very popular at the time. After several years of successful Merlot harvests, Monte realized he could not stand the taste of Merlot any longer. Plus Pinot Noir had become the premier grape in the Russian River Valley and Merlot began to take a big dive. Monte looked to the past for a solution.

This Ranch was first purchased and developed into a vineyard in 1902 by Angelo Lencioni. Five years later, Lencioni built his own winery and began producing some of the finest wines in Sonoma County. Mr. Lencioni had great success with Zinfandel and most of the valley was already planted with “old vine zin”. Rancho Maria also happens to sit right next to the famous Maple Vineyard. Tom and Tina Maple are renowned growers in the Dry Creek Valley, and are known for their outstanding old vine Zinfandel and exceptional Petite Sirah. So, when Monte decided to grow Zin, he knew right where to look - his own backyard. In the early 80’s Monte cut the heads off his Merlot vines and grafted on Maple Vineyard Zinfandel clones. The rest as they say, is history.

Today, Rancho Maria Vineyards is proud to continue the tradition that Mr. Lencioni established when he planted grapes more than a century ago. Wine is one of the oldest traditions in human history and the Rancho Maria Family is proud to be apart of such a time-honored tradition. This outstanding vineyard continues to yield classic Dry Creek Valley grapes: fruit-forward, sumptuous, and layered with velvet textures & flavors.

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