1950’s: The Thorne Family Arrives in Sta. Rita Hills

The current Rio Vista Vineyard property was settled in the late 1800’s by Portuguese immigrants, many from the Azores.The farmhouse, recently restored, was built around the turn of the century. There have been a number of visits from early occupants who were born or grew up on the property. Their stories describe an original vineyard that was in the same location as block 7 of the present Rio Vista Vineyard. They also brought photographs of large catches of steelhead from the Santa Ynez River displayed on the front porch of the farmhouse.

The Rio Vista Ranch has been in the family for over fifty years of raising cattle and farming. Bobbie Thorne’s father Jack Wiester acquired the property in the mid fifties and Bobbie and Graner Thorne were married in the area in 1958. Over the years the Thornes and their children, John and Karey, shared their time on the ranch with their city home in Palos Verdes. They rode horses, worked cattle, and earned their keep during the summers on the ranch. Over the years, the Rio Vista Ranch has continued to be a gathering point for the immediate and extended family.

Graner and Bobbie Thorne continue to share their time between the Southland and Sta. Rita Hills, though their active involvement with their vineyard and the new wine brand finds them on the Rio Vista property with increasing frequency.