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Ottimino Cristiani was the eighth and smallest child of his family hence his name, whimsical Italian for "Little Eight." Leaving the village of Altopascio, Italy in 1913 against his father's wishes, Cristiani sought a new life as a farmer in America. It was this decision that might have well saved his life, as Cristiani later learned that most boys of fighting age from Altopascio had perished in World War I.

After arriving through Ellis Island Ottimino began his journey west, ultimately acquiring a piece of property atop a ridge in the town of Occidental, California. Here he realized his childhood dream by planting a small vineyard, farming the land and making wine for his family and friends. Ottimino’s property was located directly next to Brad Alper and the two became close friends; over the years Cristiani instilled a love of vineyards and farming in Brad, who ultimately purchased Ottimino’s land after his passing. It is on this piece of property that the legacy of Ottimino lives on, both in the love of the land and the exceptional wine produced from its fruit.