Richard Sanford

Richard Sanford, founder of Alma Rosa Winery

Alma Rosa Winery was founded in 2005 by California wine industry pioneer Richard Sanford and his wife, Thekla. They named the winery after the 1839 Rancho Santa Rosa land grant that historically encompassed this region of Santa Barbara County. Richard Sanford was the first to plant Pinot Noir in the area in 1971 after detailed research of climate and geologic records. Richard went on to launch two wineries before creating Alma Rosa.

In 2014, the Sanfords sold Alma Rosa Winery and its 628-acre ranch to Bob and Barb Zorich, who are focusing on the unique attributes that the terroir of the Sta Rita Hills can bring to wines of the region. The Zorichs are also committed to continuing sustainable farming practices established by the Sanfords on the estate decades ago.

Richard and Thekla still live at Alma Rosa, and Richard, now 80, represents the winery around the country.