Osea Perrone, an Italian doctor, bought some 70 hectares of land near the top of Monte Bello Ridge in California in 1885. Here he created terraces and planted the first vines. He released the first vintage in 1892 under the name Monte Bello. In the years that followed, only a few vintages remained and eventually production came to a halt. Fortunately, however, this changed in 1940. In that year, William Short bought the abandoned winery and its vineyards. Under his reign, the vineyard area was expanded and new grape varieties were planted.
Since its inception, the focus has been on producing single vineyard wines. There are currently 17 different plots in production. Just a few years ago, there were 23. The winery's most iconic vineyards are Monte Bello, Lytton Springs, Geyserville and East Bench. The plantings consist mainly of cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel, but you will also find some syrah, petit verdot, merlot, grenache (blanc), pinot noir and chardonnay.
The vinification process is supervised by Paul Draper. His style is, as he himself calls it, pre-industrial. By that, he refers to production that is as natural as possible, in which only indigenous yeasts are used and sulphite is hardly used. This working method is also reflected in the vineyards; there, too, there is as little intervention as possible. Moreover, a number of vineyards have been officially certified organic since 2022.
After the manual harvest, the bunches are strictly selected for quality and, if necessary, destemmed. Fermentation then starts in stainless steel tanks or wooden barrels. Both American and French oak is used for the wood ageing. The duration and proportion of new wood varies per wine and vintage.
The consistent, towering quality ensures that Ridge Vineyards' wines are regularly reviewed with high scores. For example, the iconic Monte Bello wine has already received 100 Parker points three times. These were the legendary 1974, 1992 and 2013 vintages.Read more