Sixty years. Five stories. One legendary winemaker. In honor of the winery’s 60th anniversary, Dr. Liz Thach, MW wrote a piece for Forbes that captures the timeless stories told by Paul Draper, Chairman of the Board and former Winemaker.
In her article, Thach passes along the “5 mesmerizing winemaking stories” told by Draper himself: the mountain hosting Opera singers in horse-drawn carriages; Paul learning that chemistry wasn’t his strength, a challenge for a young winemaker; meeting of the minds with both a samurai and the TTB; and now with the industry facing climate change, Ridge’s commitment to organic farming and carbon reduction.
The history of Ridge Vineyards begins in 1885, when Osea Perrone, a doctor who became a prominent member of San Francisco’s Italian community, bought 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge. He terraced the slopes and planted vineyards; using native limestone, he constructed the Monte Bello Winery, producing the first vintage under that name in 1892.
After prohibition, the replanting of some vineyard parcels, and new ownership, four Stanford researchers re-bonded the winery in 1962. Paul Draper entered in 1969 and established the consistent quality and international reputation of the wines known today.