Ross Jay Rankin, Winemaker, Tierra Alta Vineyard

“Exceptional grapes, a little skill, superior oak barrels, and a distinctive palate are the ‘secrets’ to making extraordinary wine. Oh, and enough harvests to have survived everything that can go wrong.” Ross Jay Rankin, Winemaker Imagine Wine, LLC

The stars aligned and as a result of a larger winery backing out on a contract Paradise Mountain Syrah became available to us in 2003. After failing to obtain grapes from a Santa Ynez vineyard due to a low harvest year the scramble was on to find a new source. The vineyard is the farthest eastern vineyard in Santa Barbara country and it sits right in the middle of a very small microclimate with very large rainfalls (75 inches in 2004). The rocky soil has great drainage. The Mountain has cool nights often with night cloud cover and can raise in temperature to over 100 during harvest season… all great conditions for producing a huge Syrah. Remember “Exceptional Grapes”…

Beginning in 2000 Ross Jay Rankin and Lyn Dee Rankin (along with friends and family as Partners) embarked on our newest adventure. We began making wine in the Santa Ynez Valley. With Ross having completed a course of study in winemaking at Hancock College (“a little skill”), the journey began. The plan was to hand make small lots of memorable Syrah, Merlot, and Chardonnay. Over the next three years the wines were perfected before becoming a commercial operation for the 2004 harvest.

All of the Imagine wines are truly hand made. Each wine is made in fermentation bins, hand punched down three times per day, and aged in specially selected French (80%), Hungarian (10%), and American (10%) oak barrels for a minimum of one year. After bottling, all of the reds are kept for approximately one more year before being released to ensure the aromas, bouquet, and flavors are fully integrated.

Over the years Ross’s unique and careful winemaking has resulted in the evolution of Imagine Wine to include an array of varietals including Syrah, Barbera, Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet, Sangiovese and Zinfandel. We have searched long and hard to find sources for “Extraordinary Grapes.” All of this effort combines with Ross’s singular palate which produces wines that are a delight to smell, taste, and enjoy.