In the late 1990’s, with an interest in the local wine industry and passion for wine, Carmel Valley resident and entrepreneur Dick Lumpkin began envisioning grapevines on his historic Hilltop Ranch property in Carmel Valley. The climate that made it inviting historically for hosting overnight guests – “invigorating, free of fog, with cool nights” – also made it ideal for growing grapes. In 2002, Dick planted the first vines at Hilltop Ranch, three acres of Pinot Noir and .5 acres of Pinot Gris. Shortly thereafter, he contacted Annette Hoff Danzer, known for her experience with Pinot Noir, to nurture the grapes and produce the first wines from Hilltop Ranch.
With a foresight into the quality of plantings as well as the potential in the local Monterey County region, the two embarked on a journey to produce “Cima Collina” wines. Cima Collina, roughly translated “hilltop,” released its first wine in 2004, with the first Cima Collina release from the proprietary Hilltop Vineyard following in 2005.
In addition to Hilltop Ranch, Annette wanted to produce wines from vineyards throughout Monterey County to show the diversity and quality the region has to offer. She embarked on establishing local grower partnerships throughout the Salinas and Carmel Valleys, with a focus on small vineyards and artisan winemaking. Today, Cima Collina works with six unique vineyard partners, producing over a dozen different varietals, in six of Monterey County’s eight American Viticultural Areas (AVA).
In 2012, Dick and Annette sought to establish a tasting experience that achieved the rich historical “sense of place” so prevalent in Annette’s winemaking philosophy and the original vineyard on Dick’s property. The Cima Collina tasting room, located in an old creamery constructed by one of the Valley’s early pioneers, opened later that year.