Ridge Vineyards has a rich history as a California wine producing estate that dates all the way back to 1885. The modern era for Ridge Vineyards begins 10 years later in 1959. That was the year three Stanford scientists pooled their money to purchase the estate. The 1960’s were an important decade for Ridge Vineyards. The Doctors bought the now famous Monte Bello vineyard, produced their first vintage of Geyserville as well as the debut vintage for Ridge Monte Bello vineyards, the 1962. Ridge Montebello became the first, important, vineyard designated wine in California. A few years later, the young Paul Draper joined the company as their wine maker. In 1986, Ridge Vineyards was acquired by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. Paul Draper remained with the company and eventually instituted sustainable farming techniques.
Ridge Vineyards shifted to 100% organic farming techniques by 1999. Much of the success for the wines of Ridge Vineyards is due to their terroir. The vineyards are located in perhaps the coolest, if the not coldest terroir in California for growing wine grapes. Situated only 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the vineyard site for the estates top wine, Ridge Monte Bello vineyard is located at extremely high elevations that range from 1,300 feet 2,700 feet above sea level. The higher elevations were where the owners first planted vines for the production of Ridge Monte Bello. Aside from the elevation, the soils contained large deposits of limestone. The flagship wine for Ridge Vineyards is Monte Bello. The wine is aged in a combination of 95% American Oak and 5% French oak. Ridge Vineyards owns a whopping 525 acres planted with vines. Of that total, 125 acres belong to the Monte Bello Vineyard. Ridge Monte Bello uses mostly American Oak barrels.
Ridge Vineyards produces a massive array of wine including Chardonnay, Petit Sirah, Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, proprietary blends, assorted Rhone varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon and their flagship wine, Ridge Monte Bello. Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello is probably the sole remaining California wine that was known for producing outstanding wine in the 1960’s and 1970’s that is still on top of their game today. The wine ages for decades and remains popular with wine lovers. In total, Ridge Vineyards produces close to 100,000 cases of wine per vintage. For all the grape varietals produced by Ridge Vineyards, the vineyards are not all situated in the Santa Cruz mountains. They have vines in Sonoma, the Alexander Valley and Paso Robles as well. Their oldest vines are used to produce Zinfandel and the Geyserville blend that comes from 130 year old vines. Ridge Vineyards is the first, popular, California wine produce to embrace the concept of providing consumer with back labels that provide a list of all the additive ingredients found in wine. The list includes items like; indigenous yeast, naturally occurring malolactic bacteria, oak, calcium carbonate, sulfur dioxide, tartaric acid, minimum effective S O2 and egg whites. With the 2011 vintage, Ridge Vineyards began producing a wine from 100% Petit Verdot, Torre Petit Verdot from the Monte Bello Vineyard. Only 275 cases are produced each year. Ridge Vineyards Chardonnay is whole-cluster pressed, barrel fermented, and held on its lees for close to 11 months. For Red and white wines, the wines are racked, unfiltered and aged in 100% American oak. – Profile courtesy of Winecellar Insider