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Altruria Sonoma County

In the fall of 1894, an intrepid caravan of settlers began unpacking their lives on a hillside just outside Santa Rosa, CA. Fueled by the invigorating optimism of starting a new life, they ventured to start an experiment in search of a more harmonious existence. The place they called Altruria would became one of California’s first Utopian colonies.

The Altrurian group that formed their colony along Mark West Springs in 1894 built a number of small cottages, planted farmland and an orchard, and even started construction on a hotel. Despite their commitment to communal ideals, the group found itself battling a series of financial problems. Just seven months after their adventure began, the wagons began rolling back to civilization. By 1896 the last 14 settlers had abandoned the property altogether leaving only a shadow in history and a strangely named dot on the maps of future generations.

Every sip of Altruria wines is a step back to a time and place that embodies the pioneering spirit of the West, freedom of thought, and the tradition of American collectivism that has played a unique role in the great history of California.

Britt Richards

Britt Richards Winemaker

Britt (Nichols) Richards has always had her sights set on winemaking. After graduating from CSU Fresno in 2007, she made her way to Napa to do an internship at Chappellet Winery where she met her now husband Ry Richards. From there, she did stints at Jordan Winery and Keller Estate before settling down at Peter Michael Winery.

After several years, Britt decided to expand her winemaking knowledge, working at St. Clement, Ledson Winery, and with acclaimed consulting winemaker Philippe Melka. She rejoined forces with Phillip Titus in 2014 to work on Coho for several years. As winemaker for Altruria, Jack Tar and Recoltant wines, Britt takes a minimalist approach to winemaking.

"It’s so exciting for me to make wines from myriad California terroirs," Britt says, "from the dense and lush Recoltant Napa Cabernet, to the structured and powerful Altruria Sonoma Cabernet, to the luscious Jack Tar Cab from the rolling hills of Paso. These vineyards and fruit couldn’t be more distinct. In general I have a firm belief in the purity of the wines, and enhancing what is already there, which allows the fruit to shine."