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Opening August 2019: James Ontiveros, Farmer / Winemaker, Partners with Conrad Gonzales, Santa Barbara County Chef and Restaurateur, on New Wine and Food Experience, Restaurant and Event Venue in Los Alamos, California Landmark, “The Station”


Ranchos de Ontiveros Wines and Cisko Kid Food Enterprise Find a Communal Gathering Place and Catering Space in 1926-Era Building, Santa Barbara County’s 39th Landmark

July 29, 2019 – Los Alamos, CA – In August 2019, California Central Coast winemaker and farmer, and ninth generation Californian, James Ontiveros (ranchosdeontiveros.com), will open the doors to his new Los Alamos, California wine tasting room, event space and eatery, the latter part of which is in partnership with Santa Barbara County chef, caterer and restaurateur, Conrad Gonzales (vallefresh.com). The new hospitality venture will entertain the public with wine tastings, a wine and beer bar, lunch and dinner service, as well as options for private parties, in a historical venue located on the main Los Alamos thoroughfare of Bell Street.

Locally-known as “The Station”, the 1926 “California Garage” is Santa Barbara County’s 39th landmark, along with its neighboring 1880 Union Hotel. Guests will be greeted by the station’s original gas pumps, beyond which lies an Old California-decorated barroom with a 20-seat bar, where Ranchos de Ontiveros Estate Vineyard brands, Rancho Viñedo and Native9, will be available in a tasting format or for purchase from the wine and beer bar. Accompanying Ontiveros’ wine labels, will be a rotating selection of craft beer curated by Ontiveros and Gonzales, and revolving winemaker pop-ups by other California Central Coast winemakers and labels.

The next stop, the main dining room for the brick-and-mortar restaurant arm of Gonzales’ new food business, Cisko Kid, where additional wine tasting experiences, wine- and spirit-making talks will co-exist with Gonzales’ signature tacos, Santa Maria-style barbecue, and live oak wood-fire cuisine. Serving as an off-site catering base for Gonzales’ ValleFresh catering company, as well as a full-service event venue for on-site, catered happenings, Cisko Kid Los Alamos will also come complete with Gonzales’ new food truck, “Cisko Kid Mobile Eats”, which is fully-equipped and available for all levels of catering, public and private events.

The restaurant floor, which will also entail a small retail “pantry” section housing a selection of handcrafted gourmet goods like Gonzales’ locally-made jams and salsas, will have a capacity of about 90 diners and drinkers, with both front and back entries opening to outdoor gathering areas accommodating another 150 guests.

Leaving the restaurant’s dining room, capped with industrial, loft-like, open-beamed ceilings, guests will pass under an ornate, metal-work chandelier, on to expansive patios and a rambling garden area. The kid and dog-friendly “backyard”, fronted by a towering stone fireplace, also includes a raised “stage” area for live acoustic music – which will be featured on a regular basis. Beyond the stone patios, guests will find a shaded lawn and a pathway leading to a cottage, which will contain an ancillary wine tasting bar or a back bar for private events.

“First and foremost, we wanted to create a place for people to gather, to socialize, as a community and as a welcome respite for visitors. We’ve fashioned this space after ages-old social centers of this region, and have given it a ‘ranch living’ feel,” explained Ontiveros, whose California-planted family roots stretch back to 1781.

Ontiveros continued, “In thinking about a ‘home’ for my Santa Maria Valley wines, I wanted an authentic, physical manifestation of the history that this region holds – both for my own family, and for others. Which is why I chose to partner with Conrad on this endeavor…he’s a fourth generation Californian of Mexican descent, raised in Santa Barbara County, and has also chosen this area to grow his businesses.”

Ontiveros first planted Ranchos Ontiveros Vineyard in 1997, with five Pinot Noir clones spread over five acres. At the time a student at Cal Poly, upon graduation he would relocate to Healdsburg, California to manage vineyards in the Russian River Valley and on the Sonoma Coast. He would drive six hours – each way – on the weekends, to care for his own Santa Maria Valley vineyard, planting an additional three acres and three clones.

In 2003, Ontiveros made his first trip to Burgundy to learn biodynamic winemaking practices in the famed French growing region. He also produced the first vintage of his Native9 wines that same year. The following year, he and Paul Wilkins started the highly acclaimed Alta Maria vineyards brand. Nine years later, Ontiveros leased the Rancho Viñedo Vineyard from Robin Woods, as a means to finding his own estate vineyard source for old vine, own rooted Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In 2014, two Chardonnays made from two select blocks of the Rancho Viñedo Vineyard would become the first Rancho Viñedo Wines release. In 2016, Ontiveros teamed up with winemaker Justin Willet for the 2016 vintage of Native9, and subsequent vintages.

“We have a very similar respect for the land which surrounds Los Alamos, and ties to it…James is looking for the expression of terroir in his wines, and I’m also paying tribute to this region through my cuisine, and even more so, through my local corn farming project,” said Gonzales.

Along the lines of the menus for his other Central Coast food businesses, the Cisko Kid Los Alamos menu will feature an exemplary couple of Gonzales’ tacos – all served on 100% handmade tortillas – and his homage-to-California-burgers, plus new menu items like Wild Boar Smoked Ribs with Blueberry BBQ, Deviled “OG” Land Avocados, and the requisite Santa Maria BBQ. Many plates will be meant for sharing and for enjoying in the open-air garden area, possibly seated on blankets which the venue will have readily available for guests. Vegetarian and vegan dishes will be represented on the menu, as well as a selection of kid-friendly items.

Information about both Ranchos de Ontiveros Wines and the Cisko Kid restaurant, may be found on the businesses’ respective websites: ranchosdeontiveros.com and vallefresh.com. Ranchos de Ontiveros Wines is also on Facebook and Instagram, at facebook.com/ranchosdeontiveros and @ranchosdeontiveros. Cisko Kid Mobile Eats may be tracked via Instagram at @ciskokidft, and the restaurant is at @ciskokideatery.

The Ranchos de Ontiveros Wines and Cisko Kid event venue is currently taking private event reservations; to view the space and for more information, please email [email protected] or call 805.344.1960.

For more information about the Ranchos de Ontiveros Wines and Cisko Kid venue opening, please contact Anna Ferguson-Sparks, Stiletto Marketing, at 1.877.327.2656 or [email protected].

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