York Creek vineyard is located on Spring Mountain, north of St. Helena, on the western edge of Napa Valley. Our only Napa Valley vineyard site, it is perched at an elevation of 1250 – 1800 feet above sea level amidst lush natural forest land. This is an area that has long been famous for its dark and intensely flavorful wines. Indeed, York Creek produces fruit with a purity of character that is at once distinctive and indicative of its mountainous pedigree.
The creek, for which the vineyard is named, flows year round and is a defining feature of the landscape. In warmer months, the water exerts a mitigating influence on the ambient vineyard temperature. This, along with York Creek’s unique position high atop the Mayacamas Range, means that this particular site is markedly cooler than vineyards on the valley floor. Elevation and cooler temperatures allow the grapes to ripen more slowly and evenly and to retain their acidity, which makes for complex and age-worthy wine.
Planted on a mix of well-drained Boomer gravelly loam and Felton loam, the vines are head trained (no trellis) and spur pruned. There is minimal intervention in the vineyard during the growing season, in keeping with the tenets of sustainable farming. These measures, along with gentle hand harvesting in the fall, ensure that the unparalleled intensity of the fruit is expressed in the finished wine.
Ridge originally came to York Creek in 1971 in search of its old-vine petite sirah. We first harvested the zinfandel in 1975, and have made both wines in every vintage since. Experience has taught us that these two varieties make ideal blending partners. Zinfandel with its exuberant berry and spice flavors is an excellent foil for petite sirah’s bold, earthy notes. Each variety counterbalances and complements the other.
The story of York Creek is incomplete without mention of its owner, Fritz Maytag. Paul Draper and Fritz Maytag were classmates together at Stanford and while there forged a friendship. In the 60’s, long before wine was fashionable, they worked together on a non-profit vineyard project in Chile. Afterward, both continued their journeys in wine – Paul here at Ridge, and Fritz with his York Creek vineyard and winery. It is due, in part, to this enduring friendship and collaborative wine history that we are able to produce our exceptional York Creek bottling.