Ridge Winery, Santa Cruz Mountains, California


Ridge is located in the Santa Cruz Mountains on the Monte Bello ridge, over 1000 feet above sea level. Ridge’s first vintage was in 1962.

but vines had been planted on the site since the late 1800s. They also own other vineyard sites, namely in Geyserville and Lytton Springs (both on the Western edge of Alexander Valley, in Sonoma County north of Napa), where the Zinfandel grape reigns and where average vine age reaches over forty years. The finest wine produced by Ridge is the Monte Bello, a cabernet blend with merlot, petit verdot and cabernet franc (when it is ripe enough). Their second wine is the Santa Cruz Mountains, which though made from a similar blend is deliberately given a more forward style. They produce many other wines, the more famous being Geyserville and Lytton Springs (predominantly zinfandels). However, for their club members they also produce very small batches of wines (known as ATP wines- Advanced Tasting Program), such as 100% carignan. Eric Baugher, assistant winemaker and vice president of Ridge, is even experimenting with a batch of rosé. Eric really believes in terroir noting flavours in the wine produced from vines that are adjacent to the estate’s old bay laurel trees.
Ridge Style: restrained, classic cabernet sauvignon blends and exceptionally concentrated zinfandels.

Ridge Estate
Ridge Estate

Points of interest: Since 1986 Ridge has been owned by the Otsuka family who provide high levels of capital investment. The emphasis for Ridge is on quality and traditional winemaking, which lucky for us Mr Otsuka never wants to change. Most of the vines are dry farmed and only on very rare occasions do they need to irrigate. They use 100% American oak from the Ozark Mountain Range (the highland region of the central United States) and Appalachian Mountain Range (located on the east-Coast of the United States including areas such as Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina), which they consider to be the best oak found in the country. They buy their oak from small producers, which guarantees quality as well as the availability of 200 litre barrels that are exclusively made for Ridge. They ferment in square tanks to optimise space and allow the natural yeast to do all the work.
Monte Bello 2004 – a balance between elegance and power, cherry fruit, spice and leather with chewy tannins.
Santa Cruz Mtns 2004 – fruitier and more forward in style.
Santa Cruz Mtns Chardonnay 2005 – rich and toasty with wonderful tropical fruit flavours and creamy finish.
Geyserville 2004 – very concentrated and hedonistic with black pepper spice