Alta Colina Wines
Best known for bold and balanced Syrahs, Rhone blends, and gorgeous Rhône whites, Alta Colina vineyard is the perfect site to grow the kinds of wines we love to drink! Our focus is on farming at the highest quality and translating the beauty of Alta Colina Vineyard into every bottle.
While demand is high and case count is limited, we’re always developing new ways to experience Alta Colina (Spanish for “high hill”) beyond our intimate tasting room and limited membership. The Tillmans host select destination events and dinners throughout California, and at the Trailer Pond – a secluded, vintage trailer campsite located within the estate vineyard, a recipient of Sunset Magazine’s “Best of the West” Travel Award.
Visit the estate or purchase online to experience Alta Colina first hand. Tastings include a 4 (ish!) wine flight that highlights a combination of our core wines: Grenache Blanc, 12 O’Clock High Viognier, Claudia Cuvee Marsanne, Model Citizen Roussanne, GSM, Sun Worshipper (Mourvèdre blend), Toasted Slope Syrah, Old 900 Syrah, and Ann’s Block Petite Sirah.
No handmade wine would be what it is without the influences of the local soils and climate–Alta Colina’s terroir is magic! Our vines sit almost 1,800 feet above sea level in steep, exposed soils of fractured shale. Alta Colina’s high altitude ensures enough sun exposure to mature even our latest-ripening variety (Mourvedre!) while its proximity to the Pacific brings cool ocean air, which helps retain acid and maintain balance.
In the Vineyard, we try to encourage even growth and ripeness throughout the growing season because balanced vines lead to balanced wines! To encourage happy dirt, we farm all 31 acres as close to organically as possible and, beyond basic maintenance, minimal intervention is at the core of our approach.
Like our approach in the Vineyard, we aim to bottle Alta Colina wines with as little intervention as possible.
Every cluster is hand-picked pre-dawn and brought down the mountain to our Winery. Upon harvest, we press our white grapes whole cluster and the juice gets cold settled overnight. All of our whites are fermented dry and spend anywhere from 4 months in stainless steel to 16 months in primarily neutral oak.
When red grapes arrive to the winery we cluster-sort, destem, berry-sort, and move the fruit into open-top fermenters for cold soak and fermentation.
Fermentations take off with native yeast and last between 10 and 25 days. Molly and our team taste every lot daily to determine the frequency of punch down and pumpovers. Upon completion of the primary fermentation, the team presses and barrels down individual lots to complete malolactic fermentation in barrel. After 22 months in a combination of barriques and puncheons plus about a year in bottle, Club members have first access to all Alta Colina wines.
The Alta Colina Timeline
2003: Purchase of Alta Colina Vineyard
In 2003, Bob Tillman found the 130-acre parcel in Paso Robles' Adelaida District that would become Alta Colina Vineyard.
2005: Planted 31 Acres
The 31 planted acres and 8 Rhone varieties that make up Alta Colina Vineyard hit the dirt in 2005.
2007: First Harvest
Two years after planting the Vineyard, we experienced our very first harvest in 2007.
2009: First Bottle Sold
After months of hard work and harvesting, we sold our first Alta Colina-labeled bottle of Wine in 2009.
2014: Built Estate Winery
After renting space at our neighbor's facility, Villicana Winery, for 8 vintages, we proudly moved into our Estate winery in 2014.