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Specializing in Spanish varietals such as Albariño and Tempranillo, Croma Vera was founded in 2014 by Mindy Oliver and her husband, Chris Steins. Our name Croma Vera is Latin for True Colors. We guide meticulously-farmed grapes with minimal intervention, allowing each vineyard to reveal its true, unique colors. The name also reflects Mindy's artistic background, beginning her career as an illustrator and transitioning to graphic design. With experience, creativity and science as our guides, we shape the wine into a work of art.
Mindy and Chris relocated to California’s Central Coast with their two sons in 2011. Winemaking had always been an aspiration, and the move intensified this passion. After the untimely passing of a childhood friend, Mindy recognized that life is too precious to put off the pursuit of a dream.
Mindy and Chris met consulting winemaker Jeremy Leffert while experimenting with different winemaking techniques. In Jeremy, they found an advisor who shared their focus on exceptional quality and interest in the Spanish varietals that form the foundation of Croma Vera’s offerings.
We select fruit from attentive, quality-focused growers with unique properties suited for the varieties we craft. Croma Vera is closely involved with our growers throughout the season, with grapes farmed to our specifications.
Dedication and attention to detail in the vineyard allow for the wines to express their sense of place.
Our white and rosé wines are whole-cluster pressed and fermented extremely cold to aid in the preservation of aromatic and flavor compounds that could otherwise be lost.
Our red wines are gently de-stemmed, sorted, and cold soaked for two to six days prior to fermentation. Fermentations are carefully monitored so as not to over-extract. The reds are pressed off, settled, and racked to barrel for 12 to 18 months. We select coopers and toasts that complement our vineyards. The reds are aged on fine lees in a reductive state, with minimal oxygen contact until final blending and bottling.
As winemakers we are more stewards than interventionists. Our fermentation and cellar practices are governed by vintage and variety rather than protocol.
An appreciation for the beauty of nature and how it can enrich our lives is the unifying theme that led Mindy inevitably to produce premium wine on California’s Central Coast. From her education in Fine Art at the University of California, Santa Cruz, to her work as a commercial artist, and Chief Creative Officer for a technology agency, Mindy’s focus on beauty and design in its many forms has been paramount.
After moving to the Central Coast, Mindy began to experiment with different winemaking techniques. She studied the science, history and artistry of the craft. Her unique blend of appreciation for art, keen sense of design, and savvy understanding of business, ensure that the quality of each vineyard will show its true colors in each bottle of Croma Vera wine.
Jeremy Leffert moved to California after completing his degree in Environmental Studies with a focus in Natural History from the University of Vermont. Immediately after moving to Santa Barbara, Leffert discovered wine and felt drawn to the vineyards of the Central Coast. A meeting with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo professor Dr. Keith Patterson, inspired Jeremy to enroll in the university’s Masters program in Crop Science with a focus in Viticulture. Leffert strove to perfect his viticultural knowledge and abilities under the mentorship of Dr. Patterson.
Jeremy was the winemaker for Hearst Ranch Winery from its inception in 2009 to 2014, when he assumed the role of Director of Winemaking at The Workshop in San Luis Obispo. It was at The Workshop that he met Mindy and Chris. Jeremy has been an avid guitarist since childhood and lives in San Luis Obispo with his wife, Melissa.
Chris Steins is Mindy’s husband, and serves as the CEO of a technology consulting firm that focuses on urban planning and open source technologies. Chris brings to Croma Vera experience in business operations management and technology integration. Chris is also an adjunct faculty member at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he teaches about technology and public participation. Chris holds a Master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Southern California, and a degree in English and Business from UCLA.