The Inside Scoop on Ridge Vineyards
The Silicon Valley Wine Auction, benefitting the Silicon Valley Education Foundation, takes place next month on June 20, at Levi’s Stadium and we’re getting the inside scoop from some of the participating wineries. We recently sat down with Ridge Vineyards to learn more about the history of the winery and what makes it stand out.
Here’s what the Ridge team told us about the vineyard’s history…
With the 2012 vintage Ridge Vineyards is celebrating 50 years as a bonded winery. The first vines were planted and our historic winery built in 1886. The first vintage of Monte Bello was 120 years ago in 1892. However, the winery closed during Prohibition, reopened with repeal, but closed definitively in the early 1940s. The Ridge partners re-bonded 50 years ago for the superb vintage of 1962.
And about its location and climate…
Our appellation, the Santa Cruz Mountains, separates the North Coast from the Central Coast, but is not a part of either and is cut in two by the San Andreas fault. The climate of the eastern segment, where the Monte Bello vineyards are located, is primarily influenced by the San Francisco Bay. The western segment is influenced entirely by the Pacific Ocean. Though both are cool, the eastern is above the Bay's inversion layer and warm enough to ripen the Bordeaux varietals. The western segment, however, is deeply affected by the ocean's summer fogs, and it has proved most suited to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Monte Bello's higher vineyards (2000' - 2700') are within sight of the Pacific fifteen miles to the west, and cooled by winds off the ocean.
Our viticulture is sustainable and almost entirely organic. From the beginning, we have kept all vineyards separate, seeking those sites that show distinct, individual character and quality. In the cellar, we avoid additions other than the minimum effective SO2. There is no mechanical processing except for gentle filtration at bottling and traditional destemming and pressing. Both primary and secondary fermentations are natural. Our estate wines that together make up over 75% of our production are from the Monte Bello, Geyserville and Lytton Springs vineyards. We work with nine smaller vineyards as well.
We consider ourselves caretakers of the land. We own most of our vineyards, hold long-term leases on others, and have agricultural easements in perpetuity. We collaborate with the Regional Open Space District—maintaining the original vineyard land as they preserve the wild space— assuring the land will be kept free from future development.
Click here to visit Ridge Vineyard’s website.
Click here to learn more about Silicon Valley Wine Auction.