A Visit to Monte Bello

Jon Bonné

With the news of Ridge Vineyards’ Paul Draper retiring after nearly 50 years, it seemed the right time to revisit perhaps my favorite moment with him. This is excerpted from my book The New California Wine (Ten Speed Press, 2013; purchase here, here or here).

It recounts a particularly memorable trip to see Draper atop Monte Bello Ridge, high in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Any visit to Monte Bello is memorable, but this one particularly so.

Draper has been emphatic that the work at Monte Bello will go on unchanged, as he has for years been cultivating a talented team to continue his work, including winemakers Eric Baugher and John Olney, and viticulturist David Gates. But quite simply: The depth of Draper’s contribution to the current extraordinary state of American wine is simply beyond expression. This was a small reminder.

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