Open Year Round
Rancho Olivo Vineyards is located on property rich in history. In the Gold Rush days it was home to one of California's earliest wineries, the Bennett Winery. Adjacent to the old railroad that ran from the Motherload Country down to Sacramento and beyond, and also to the old wagon road and local stage stop, the winery was known up and down the line for producing a fine crop of grapes.
Unfortunately, during Prohibition the grape vines were torn out and the old stone winery building fell into disrepair. Nello and Danica Olivo have used the old stones to make a stone shell around a large addition to their ranch home on the property. Using photographs of the old Bennett Winery, stone masons matched the original stonework for the addition.
Danica will tell you that, while the enforcers of prohibition were aggressive in tearing out the old lines, they did not fully succeed. Each year along the creek that defines the southeastern property line of the ranch, the tall oak trees turn red with the fall coloring of the old grapevines that still grow in the branches which hang over the flowing creek.
Indians once camped here; perhaps it was a permanent campground for them. There is a huge grinding rock on the property and, once in a while, loose bowl-shaped rocks are turned up with the tractor as new projects are initiated on the grounds.
Nello and Dancia Olivo moved into the 21 acre property that was to become Rancho Olivo Vineyards in October of 2000. Their goal was to restore and expand the property and to plant a vineyard to provide grapes to sell to local wineries and to supply Nello's growing home winemaking hobby. A vineyard specialist was hired to supervise the operation: Lance Johnson, a Viticulture graduate of UC Davis. And the adventure began.