Eric Baugher is Chief Operating Officer and Winemaker at Ridge Vineyards’ Monte Bello Winery in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. 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.
Eric joined Ridge as Chemist in 1994 and in his first year, conducted research to develop new, sophisticated analytical tests to support Ridge’s traditional winemaking practices. Eric has had his hand in the production of Ridge wines since the harvest of 1995 when Ridge C.E.O, Paul Draper, passed along more responsibilities outside the laboratory-with the management of production and winemaking. Since that time, Eric was promoted to Vice President of Winemaking in 2001, winemaker in 2004, and Chief Operating Officer in 2016. His passion for wine and the stimulating juxtaposition of low-tech winemaking and high-tech analytic techniques keeps him totally involved and constantly inspired.