Carmel Valley Village, a hidden gem off the Monterey Peninsula, continues to be an ideal spot for wine tasting with friends and discovering new treasures – for locals and visitors alike. As more tasting rooms pop up, each brings a bit of character to this quaint region and gives wine aficionados yet another reason to return. For those looking for a taste of history on the next visit, Cima Collina’s tasting room brings visitors back in time as one of the oldest historical landmarks in Carmel Valley Village.
Cima Collina’s tasting room is located in an original 19th century building in Carmel Valley Village. Built in 1890 by one of the area’s early pioneers, William Hatton, the building was originally used as an auxiliary creamery for Hatton’s successful dairy business in the Carmel Valley. One of his modern innovations to the dairy business, a special ventilation tower intended to help rapidly cool the milk, was incorporated in the dairy design. Some of the earliest Monterey Jack cheeses were made on the premises, and it remains the most prominent structure standing today of the original Del Monte Dairy’s auxiliary site. Since the dairy, the “old milk barn” has been home to Carmel Valley’s first post office and stop for the stagecoach on route to Tassajara Hot Springs, an art gallery, and a handful of local favorite restaurants. Much of the original architectural details are still in place today, including the innovative ventilation tower, perched above the roofline. Today, rustic interior bat and board, exposed ceiling rafters and period glass surround guests while tasting Cima Collina wines.
Venturing down the valley a short .5 miles, Cima Collina’s Hilltop Ranch estate vineyard also brings a touch of history. Initially part of a large Mexican land grant, in the 1930’s the vineyard property was promoted as a rare summer ranch for girls “Rancho Carmelo” and California’s first Dude Ranch. Many locals still recall watching horse shows in the existing barn, where the owners bred rare Arabians and Palomino horses for use by guests on the ranch trails.
Today, visitors can incorporate a historic Vineyard Walk & Wine Flight with their Carmel Valley experience at Cima Collina’s Hilltop Ranch, offered by reservation on a limited basis. Cima Collina’s historic tasting room is open daily. Both locations welcome private groups and personal wine tasting experiences. Visit www.cimacollina.com for more information.
Historical information and images courtesy of the Carmel Valley Historical Society