Legendary Santa Barbara Winemaker Richard Sanford Sells Alma Rosa Label

(Press release issued January 16, 2014) 
Photo by Bob Dickey, wineguydotcom@yahoo.com

Santa Barbara, CA – Richard Sanford, one of California’s most recognized pioneering winemakers, who has championed the Sta. Rita Hills winegrowing region for 40 years, will continue to make his legendary wines under the Alma Rosa label. Sanford has attracted a new financial partner, Robert Zorich, to recapitalize Alma Rosa, which paves the way for Alma Rosa to remain at the top of Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir prominence.

Zorich, a Houston based businessman with a private equity pedigree, recently purchased Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards, located on the storied Santa Rosa Road corridor of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. “I really wanted to do something with Richard Sanford. He has been creating great Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay, with integrity and class, for nearly 40 years in Santa Barbara County. I’m basically a business guy who enjoys wine, and it was important for me to partner with someone like Richard, whom I greatly respect and admire. In private equity we back highly experienced management teams and give them the tools to create value.  This is a very similar situation.”

Thekla and Richard Sanford (credit: Bob Dickey)
Founded in 2005 by Richard and his wife Thekla, Alma Rosa Winery will continue to focus on producing estate grown wines from the Sta. Rita Hills.  Sanford will oversee the vineyards and the daily operations of winemaking. “Four decades ago, I came to this region with an idea and a dream.  This is a meaningful opportunity for me to refocus my energies on the agricultural and winemaking aspects of the business, both of which initially drew me to the world of wine.  I look forward to continuing to build on my past experience in an organic and sustainable way.”

Zorich adds, “Richard will have access to the resources he needs to create beautiful wines. We will use the existing Alma Rosa brand as our foundation and build upon it to maintain our position as a leader within the Sta. Rita Hills appellation.”

Sanford adds, “This is a very exciting time for us.  Thekla and I look forward to continuing to welcome our guests in an environment that recognizes the soul and spirit of the Sta. Rita Hills.  We will now have the opportunity to plant additional vineyards and we will have state of the art winemaking resources fully available to us. This is truly a dream come true.  We are happily anticipating our partnership with Mr. Zorich.  Thekla and I feel fortunate to be starting this new phase in our lives.  We are grateful for the support of everyone who enjoys Alma Rosa wines, and we look forward to our future in the Sta. Rita Hills.”

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