Our Winemakers

Winemaker Profiles

PAUL DRAPER, CEO/WINEMAKER (second from right)
Paul Draper grew up on an eighty-acre farm in the Chicago suburb of Barrington. After attending the Choate School and receiving a degree in philosophy from Stanford University, he lived for two years in northern Italy. Later he attended the University of Paris and traveled extensively in France, gaining practical experience in traditional winemaking. In the mid-sixties, with a close friend, he set up a small winery in the coast range of Chile and produced several vintages of cabernet sauvignon. He joined Ridge Vineyards in 1969, and presently resides atop Monte Bello Ridge with his wife Maureen and daughter Caitlin. He is known for his crafting of fine cabernets and chardonnays from the Monte Bello estate vineyards, and as a pioneer in the production of long-lived, complex zinfandels.

A native Californian, Eric grew up on a small ranch in the Santa Cruz Mountains where he raised animals, planted gardens and orchards, and rode horses. His love of the area kept him there for college; he attended UC Santa Cruz, receiving undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. In 1994, he joined Ridge and in his first year, he organized the laboratory and developed new sophisticated analytical tests to support Ridge's traditional winemaking practices. In 1995, he took on production management and now oversees all day-to-day winemaking activities. His passion for wine and the stimulating juxtaposition of low-tech winemaking and high-tech analytic techniques keeps him totally involved and constantly inspired.

John began traveling to Europe at an early age where he was introduced to the culture of wine in France and Italy. He frequently visited the south of France where he spent time with his uncle, Richard Olney, the celebrated food and wine writer. Through his uncle's relationships, John learned first hand many of the great European winemaking methods and traditions. Later, while attending a language exchange program in Provence, he chose to pursue wine as a career and, in 1994, enrolled in enological studies at the Lycée Viticole in Burgundy to learn the craft of winemaking in greater depth. Before coming to Ridge, John worked at Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant as well as with several European winemakers including Gerald Chave in the Rhone, Lucien Peyraud at Domaine Tempier, and Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.
In 1996, John began work at Ridge's Monte Bello Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. In 1999, he was put in charge of the Lytton Springs Winery where he oversaw the construction of the new 17,000 sq. ft. straw bale winery.

He grew up on a 160-acre farm in central Minnesota. In order to escape the Minnesota winters, he attended the University of California, San Diego for two years. His love of plants and agriculture led him to UC Davis, where he received his bachelor's and master's degrees in Viticulture, and met and married his wife, Donna. For the next six years he worked as a viticultural consultant throughout northern California and southern Oregon, and as a vineyard manager in Napa Valley. Since joining Ridge in 1989, David's duties include managing the Monte Bello vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Whitten Ranch at Geyserville, and the Lytton Estate vineyards at Healdsburg, as well as monitoring and helping all Ridge growers in Sonoma, Napa, Santa Clara, and San Luis Obispo counties.