Osea Perrone, a doctor from San Francisco, first purchased the Monte Bello Ridge property in 1885 and the first Monte Bello wine was produced in 1892. 70 years later, four friends and Stanford researchers founded Ridge Vineyards bottling their first Zinfandel in 1964. Paul Draper joined the team in 1969 and brought the winery to new soaring heights with its win at the Judgment of Paris in 1976.
There are 30,285 plants on the Lytton Springs property, each diligently catalogued by the on-site vineyard manager Will Thomas to identify the mixed blacks, the wide variety of bush-trained vines planted at the turn of the 20th century. This great vine diversity offers a snapshot of pre-prohibition viticulture that formed the basis of modern Californian wine culture. Farming here is rigorously organic.
Available only at the winery, the Boatman Zinfandel 2014 is planted on volcanic soils and shows off the exuberant confidence of the variety with dried black fruits, bramble, and mixed dark berries. The Geyersville 2015 is primarily Zinfandel, with a small amounts of Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. It immediately captures your attention with a rich floral nose of red fruit and rose. The Montebello 2014 (GREAT WINE) is grown on Lytton Springs’ sister property in the Santa Cruz Mountains: This illustrious Bordeaux-blend delivers lushly ripe and dried dark fruits with perfectly integrated American oak.
TASTING ROOM Weekdays by appointment, walk-ins welcome on weekends.
MAILING LIST Currently open.
SALES Website and national distribution.
WINERY TOURS Yes.
PRIVATE EVENTS Yes.
SOCIAL MEDIA Instagram @RidgeVineyards, Twitter @RidgeVineyards, Facebook.com/RidgeVineyards
Images via Elisabeth Fiorello-Sievers