CACTUS STAR VINEYARD

Scaredy Cat Ranch

An Award Winning Boutique Winery
Established in 2001

Cactus Star Vineyard at Scaredy Cat Ranch is a boutique winery located on the west end of the Ramona Valley AVA. Our estate was established in 2001 with the first vintage crafted in 2004. We are one of the smallest wineries in Southern California producing 150 - 200 cases per year. All of our wines are produced and bottled on the Scaredy Cat Ranch premises using estate grown grapes and occasionally local Ramona Valley grapes.

We are proud to be within the boundaries of the Ramona Valley AVA. The Ramona Valley AVA was designated in 2006 by the Federal Government recognizing the distinct terroir and diverse micro-climates within the valley creating unique growing conditions for a wide variety of wine grapes.

Ramona Valley has the nickname “Valley of the Sun” because of the long sunny days during the summer months. Day time temperatures are warm, however, as the Ramona Valley is approximately 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean, the nights are typically cool and the western side of Ramona enjoys morning marine layer throughout the year. This climate is ideal for growing premium wine grapes.

The Vineyard


The one acre estate vineyard was planted in 2001 with Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon, then in 2002, Malbec and Petit Verdot were added.

The initial intent of the vineyard was to supply grapes for home winemaking efforts. However, the novice vintner underestimated the productivity of the vineyard, and thus the winery was born.

In the beginning...2001

The vineyard during summer of 2001.

Picture of Vineyard in 2001
A little Later...

Picking time circa 2005

Picture of Vineyard in 2005
Later yet...

Veraision circa 2008

Picture of Vineyard in 2008
Spring 2010...

Spring shoot growth

Picture of Vineyard in 2010

Grapes in our Estate Vineyard

Tempranillo

The great grape of Spain. In Ramona, Tempranillo feels right at home. Tempranillo is a black grape with very thick skins that makes very aromatic, silky red wine. Aromas of mixed berries and firm tannins make for a complex wine capable of aging.

Picture of Tempranillo Grapes
Cabernet Sauvignon

It's Cab.... what can be said. King of the vineyard, and most say king of the wine world.

Picture of Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes
Petit Verdot

It has been said that Petit Verdot is like working with a temperamental actress. With a little convincing it can give a performance for the ages...or not...leaving the winemaker the urge to cut off its water supply and let the gophers have their way. But sanity prevails and the Petit Verdot gets to see another season.

At Scaredy Cat Ranch the Petit Verdot has been excellent to date. Well worth the trouble. We do a very limited 100% bottling, but most of it is used in the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Picture of Petit Verdot Grapes
Malbec

Malbec is the wild card at Scaredy Cat Ranch. It's the squatter which has won squatter's rights. Also, since the vines are close to ranch horse, on occasion, much to the dismay of the winemaker, he has a bite or two. Kind of an impromptu pruning or crop thinning, depending where he takes a bite.

The Malbec is used to blend in with the Cabernet Sauvignon. On its own it makes a wonderful wine with lots of blackberry flavors. However, there isn't enough production to make a straight varietal.

Picture of Malbec Grapes

The Winery


The winery produces 150 - 200 cases of wine annually marketed under three labels. All estate wines are labeled as Scaredy Cat Ranch, any wine produced from nearby Ramona Valley vineyards are labeled Two Dogs Barking and a limited sparkling production is labeled Cactus Star. All wines are made on the Scaredy Cat Ranch premises. Scaredy Cat Ranch Estate wines produced are Tempranillo, Meritage, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Two Dogs Barking wines in the past have been Pinot Noir, Syrah, Zinfindal, Grenache, Viognier and Aglianico.

Cactus Star is a boutique winery dedicated to producing small batches of premium wines from the estate vineyard and occasionally from local Ramona Valley grown grapes. All our wines undergo cold soaking and primary fermentation in small macro bins where the caps are punched down at least twice daily. Then the must is pressed and put into 225 liter oak barrels where the wine completes its fermentation and undergoes malolactic fermentation.

Scaredy Cat Ranch label

All wine with the Scaredy Cat Ranch label are produced using Estate Grapes

Image of Scaredy Cat Ranch label
Two Dogs Barking label

Produced at Scaredy Cat Ranch using local Ramona Valley grown grapes

Image of Two Dogs Barking label
Cactus Star Vineyard label

Very limited production of sparkling wine. Produced at Scaredy Cat Ranch using the traditional Methode Champenoise method, which means fermented in the bottle.

Image of Cactus Star label

Visit our Tasting Patio

We are a very small boutique winery. Our tasting patio is only open when we have wine to sell! As is the the nature of having limited wine available, we are open for tasting on a seasonal basis. Our open season typically runs from the end of October (Halloween) until the end of Febuary, sometimes earlier, sometimes later.

When open, our schedule is:
Every 2nd and 4th weekend of the month on Saturday & Sunday, weather permitting!
Hours: 1pm - 4pm
Picture 1 of Tasting Patio
Picture 1 of Tasting Patio
Picture 1 of Tasting Patio

Contact Us

17029 Handlebar Road, Ramona, CA 92065

(760) 787-0779

info@CactusStarVineyard.com



Best way to get to Handlebar Rd:
We are 1.2 miles down Highland Valley Road from the light at Route 67.