Born and raised in Southern California, Chris Hamilton has been making beer and wine for over 30 years. He's not only our winemaker and viticulturist, he's also been a pilot with American Airlines for over 25 years. On the rare occasion he's not in the vineyard or in the air, he loves to travel to rock n' roll concerts or fishing in Mexico. You'll have a good chance of meeting him in the winery or seeing him at work the vineyard!
Born on Luke AFB and raised all over the world, Breanna Hamilton finally settled down in Sonoita, AZ. She started working in the tasting room where Chris stole her heart. The rest as they say, is history. She now runs the tasting room, wine club, marketing and all non-profit endeavors, including Rescued Hearts Cellars and Support a Rescue Week. She now owns a licensed home bakery too! It’s called Brea’s Bakery (said Breeze). She brings bread and treats to the winery for purchase every Saturday! You can check out her Facebook here.
The Wine Dogs
#BigHenryDavid is a 3 year year old Anatolian Shepherd mix. He is currently working through his puppy sommelier course and we agree that he has a very discerning palate. He was rescued from Stealing Hearts Rescue in 2018.
#LeoMedio (Leopold Cassidy) is a 2.5 year old ultimate mutt filled with LOADS of energy. He excels at knocking down irrigation lines and keeping all birds and bunnies out of the vineyard. He was rescued from Smiling Dog Rescue in 2019.
#LittleArthurJackson is a 2 year old chihuahua, doxie, terrier mix. His pint size and smile make him the perfect door greeter. You’ll love him enough to take him home but.. he’s got a job to do. He was rescued from Little Lotus Rescue in 2019.
What About The Wine?
After being a home brewer and winemaker for almost 20 years, it was time to try my hand at commercial wine making. I wanted to make ultra-premium varietal wines from grapes that I had planted and raised myself. I determined that the Sonoita area would be the best place to grow premium fruit. We began working the soil and establishing the vineyard in 2000. In 2002 we planted our first 12.5 acres of vines with premium Bordeaux and Rhone varietals. We now have a total of 24 acres and 13 different grape varieties.
At Rancho Rossa Vineyards, we prefer the hands off approach, using old school techniques and allowing our grapes to make the wine with as little intervention from the wine maker as possible. We opened the tasting room in 2006 with just four wines. Our very first effort, the 2004 Syrah, won the AWGA award for best red wine in the state. We have followed with many other award-winning wines and have developed a small cult following for our Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon called Emotional Rescue, which is made only in very small quantities.
I believe that it is very important to grow all of our own fruit. As a grower/wine maker, I decide exactly when the fruit is at its peak and ready for harvest. Unfortunately, there are years that not purchasing fruit from other sources can bite you in the butt. Normally, we produce 1100 cases annually, but due to inclement weather, we have produced as little as 200 cases per year. Yes, we lose a lot of money when that happens but we keep our standards high and continue our efforts to be the only 100% Estate in the Sonoita area. Quality is at the top of our list. Quality grapes make quality wine. Within two hours after being picked, our grapes are delivered to the winery and are processed, ensuring the highest quality juice for our wines.
When you come to Rancho Rossa Vineyards and taste our wine, you are assured that the wine in your glass was grown, produced, and bottled in Arizona. I know, because I have touched every bottle, made every ounce of the wine, and put on every label. I am the owner, wine maker, and viticulturist.