History of Adobe Hill
In 2016, we made a life-altering decision and bid farewell to the busyness of Orange County and sought refuge in the tranquility of Fallbrook, a charming village that instantly captured our hearts. Here, we fell in love with and purchased a five-acre parcel of land, graced by an adobe home perched upon a hill, offering breathtaking vistas. The adobe house, a testament to the region’s rich heritage, was crafted by a local architect using bricks molded from the earth from the nearby San Luis Rey River. Some bricks bore unique imprints from dog prints and handprints, infusing our home with a warmth and character we cherish.
Deep within our hearts existed a longing for Italy, a country that captivated us. Although living there permanently was beyond our reach, we were determined to bring Italy to our own backyard. Thus, we embarked on a journey to transform our neglected avocado grove into the enchanting Canonita Vineyard. The land, neglected by its previous owner due to soaring water prices induced by the drought and overwhelmed with weeds, was in dire need of revitalization.
We cleared away the remnants of the avocado trees and diligently prepared the soil, actualizing our dream.
It was not easy, and we faced obstacles in finding suitable vineyard management companies. However, we finally connected with Duncan Williams, a seasoned expert who helped us design the vineyard layout and implement efficient irrigation systems. With the unwavering support of friends, neighbors, and our loving family, we planted around 3,600 vines of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grafted onto dormant 1103P rootstock. To complete the picturesque Italian scene we envisioned, we built a barn to house goats and donkeys, giving rise to Adobe Hill Farms—a name that felt far more fitting than the “Mud Hut” moniker the real estate agent assigned.
However, our journey took an unforeseen turn in 2019 when our plan to sell grapes to wineries proved financially unviable. Undeterred by setbacks, we reevaluated our path and redirected our focus toward building our own winery and crafting wines that would capture our unique touch. Yet, one question remained: Who would be the winemaker? Neither of us had any experience or desire to become winemakers ourselves. Our son, Jason, sealed the deal by wholeheartedly embracing our vision and embarked on a path of viticulture and winemaking and now assists our winemaker, Renato Sais. In September 2019, we celebrated our first harvest from the original Canonita Vineyard, yielding a modest yet significant four tons of grapes. The taste of that initial harvest ignited a fire within us, fueling our determination to continue.
As our aspirations grew, we searched for more land suitable for expanding our vineyard and constructing a tasting room, a space, where we could welcome fellow wine enthusiasts and kindred spirits. Eventually, we discovered a remarkable 85-acre property on Via Ranchitos, comprised of three separate parcels. Although initially we considered a more manageable 27-acre portion, we took a leap of faith and acquired the entire property, establishing Adobe Hill Winery.
Transforming this land into a flourishing vineyard was no small feat. We rolled up our sleeves, removed the remnants of decaying avocado trees, and meticulously prepared ten acres for the initial vineyard planting. The journey was arduous, but the reward was worth every drop of sweat and in October 2019, the layout planning for our new property, Via Ranchitos, commenced. We decided to focus on Italian varieties that would thrive in the temperate climate of San Diego County. May 2020 witnessed the transformation of our vision into reality as a dedicated crew worked tirelessly, bringing our vineyard to life one vine at a time.
Our journey continued hand in hand with the growth of the Via Ranchitos Vineyard. In July 2020, with the support of our friends and neighbors, we planted a remarkable 8,500 vines encompassing nine exquisite varieties. The hard work and dedication paid off, blessing us with future bountiful harvests characterized by exceptional fruit quality. 2021 marked a significant milestone as we bottled our Canonita Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wines, followed by a prestigious Gold Medal awarded to our Rosé blend in 2022, courtesy of the Orange County Wine Competition. Our harvests grow ever more abundant each year, bringing newfound improvements and successes. In 2023, we joyfully celebrated the bottling of our latest wines, including the popular Fusionne blend, alongside our beloved Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Looking toward the future, our goals for Adobe Hill Winery encompass far more than a mere tasting room and include plans to achieve SIP certification, organic certification, and regenerative farm recognition. We envision a haven that encapsulates the spirit of Fallbrook’s “friendly village”, where wine connoisseurs and kindred souls can gather to indulge in the artistry of winemaking. The tasting room, currently under construction and designed to bring the essence of Fallbrook to life, is an atmosphere where all who enter feel welcomed and embraced. We hope that guests will savor the flavors of our wines, surrounded by the warmth of our family and shared experiences. This next phase of our winery represents a profound realization of our dreams—a space where individuals can unwind, connect with nature, and nourish their souls.
The journey of Adobe Hill Winery is a testament to our unwavering zeal and the support of our community. With each bottle of wine, we share the fruits of our labor and the love poured into every vine and glass, embodying the essence of our Italian dream realized in the heart of Fallbrook.
Vickie & Gordon