Our Advance Tasting Program (ATP) is California’s original winery wine club with its roots dating all the way back to 1977. Since the beginning the ATP Program has provided a small membership base of loyal customers the unique opportunity to gain access to extremely limited wines from distinctive vineyards throughout Northern California. We have always believed that great wine comes from great vineyards; expressing an unmistakable sense of place; best achieved through natural, non-interventionist winemaking practices.
In the mid-1970s, almost 15 years after we became a bonded winery, we began to see the need for a structured membership program that would provide our growing contingent of loyal customers advance access to our smallest production wines. Throughout the 60s and 70s, visitors would regularly travel up Monte Bello Ridge to learn about our pre-industrial winemaking methods and taste and purchase our wines. In the mid-70s we noticed the number of repeat visitors was growing, so in 1977 the Advance Tasting Program (ATP) was born. A small group of regular, mostly local, customers were welcomed as the charter ATP members, guaranteed to receive two bottles of each release in advance of the wine becoming available for sale to the public.
The concept of a ‘wine club’ is commonplace nowadays, but that was not the case in 1977. All but a few wineries were selling their wines through traditional distribution (producer sells to distributor, distributor sells to retailer/restaurateur, who then sells to the customer) with hardly any sold directly to customers. ATP was the first club of its kind and grew quickly through word-of-mouth. In those early days, member information was kept on index cards in side a shoe box, while wines were hand-delivered in the backseat of a ’67 Ford Mustang. Throughout the past 40 years, computers and delivery methods are about all that has changed. The Mustang? We’re not sure about its whereabouts.
The Ridge ATP program continues to provide our dedicated members exclusive access to site-specific single-vineyard wines made in a pre-industrial manner. Whether you have been with us from the beginning or are just becoming acquainted with Ridge and ATP, we thank you for your support and look forward to sharing a toast and a conversation about the past, present and future. Cheers!