Ridge Winery history begins in 1886 when Osea Perrone, a doctor from northern Italy, bought 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge, on the San Francisco peninsula. He planted grapes on top of the ridge, and on its steep southern slopes, at the same time constructing his Monte Bello winery. Limestone cellars built into the hillside on two levels became the foundation of a large redwood building, where Perrone produced the first Monte Bello wines in 1892. Today, Ridge uses the historic winery for production and aging. Almost half of the surrounding acreage, abandoned during Prohibition, has been replanted; this is our "upper" vineyard.
In the 1940s, a retired theologian who loved farming as much as he loved fine wine, bought the adjoining Torre winery and its former vineyard. William Short replanted eight of the forty-eight acres to cabernet sauvignon and a small amount of chardonnay. In 1959, this 2300' "middle" vineyard was purchased by the Ridge founders as a weekend retreat for their families. One of the group, Dave Bennion, appropriated a small amount of that year's fruit, and produced the first "Ridge" Monte Bello cabernet. The exceptional quality of that wine inspired the founding families; they reopened the Torre winery as Ridge Vineyards in time for the 1962 vintage. By 1968, they had purchased the Perrone property. Paul Draper joined the group as winemaker in 1969; in 1971, he moved production to the old Monte Bello winery.
During the seventies, Ridge worked with the Schwabacher family to replant the nineteenth-century cabernet vineyards on their land further down the mountain, and in 1978 these young plantings produced the first Jimsomare Cabernet. In 1996, Ridge took over the Jimsomare vines, integrating them with Monte Bello as the "lower" vineyard. We select grapes from the more than thirty separate parcels on the lower, middle, and upper to make our Monte Bello, Santa Cruz Mountains, and Home Ranch wines.
These vines have now produced over forty vintages of Ridge Monte Bello, whose ability to develop complexity with age is unmatched in California, and recognized worldwide.
Ridge Winery Zinfandel Pagani Ranch
The Ridge Winery Pagani Ranch Zinfandel is a big, plush, moderately complex wine whose undisguised ripeness is married to a nice bit of juicy fruit, peppery spice.
Ridge Winery Zinfandel Paso Robles
The Ridge Winery Paso Robles Zinfandel shows lots of sweet, baked berry elements streaked with cocoa, caramel and faint suggestions of dried herbs; plump and fleshy in feel.
Ridge Winery Zinfandel Sonoma Station
The Sonoma Station Zinfandel has aromas of currant, orange peel and clove; juicy, penetrating and complex; notes of briary berries, cherry pit, and bitter chocolate.
Ridge Winery Cabernet Sauvignon
Ridge Winery Cabernet Sauvignon starts out with earthy, gamy, leathery flavors, then turns supple and polished, with complex anise, currant, berry, mushroom and cedar notes. Shows more sweet-tasting fruit and balance than most '88s.--1988 California Cabernet retrospective. Drink now through 2006.
Ridge Winery Geyserville
Ripe and full-bodied, with zesty wild berry, raspberry and blackberry fruit that stays pure and focused if a bit raw and hot on the finish.
Ridge Winery Coast Range
Lots of ripe, grapey flavors, with black cherry, raspberry and boysenberry flavors that are vivid and enticing. Balanced tannins. Zinfandel, Carignane, Petite Sirah and others. Drink now through 2004.