POSTED ON March 22, 2022 | IN Santa Cruz Wine Country | BY Joe Becerra

A visit to Ridge Monte Bello

Ridge Monte Bello – Notice the Redwood Trees

The Ridge Winery address is 17100 Montebello Road, Cupertino. One might think the winery and tasting room sit in the middle of Silicon Valley. Or one may think the winery is a neighbor of Apple Computer. Such is not the case. Ridge Monte Bello is far from the high-tech world, as it sits atop Monte Bello at an elevation of 2400 feet. What a view at the top and that is just the beginning.

Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello is one of California’s most esteemed wineries. Ridge’s Cabernet Sauvignon wine was one of the California wines entered in the “Judgement of Paris” competition in 1976. The tasting was reenacted in 2006 and 2015 with California vs. Bordeaux’s same wines. While the Ridge wine was not the top selection in 1976, it was the best in the next two taste-offs. Paul Draper, the winemaker for 48 years, is one of the most respected winemakers worldwide. Paul is retired now but remains as Chairman of the Board. 

There are two Ridge Vineyards locations. Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello is the original winery (1959), and is in the Santa Cruz Mountain AVA. Ridge Lytton Springs (1991) is near Healdsburg in Sonoma County and resides in the Dry Creek Valley. Monte Bello specializes in Bordeaux varieties, but Lytton Springs is all about Zinfandel. We visited Ridge Monte Bello last week. We love the ride from Highway 280 in Cupertino up Monte Bello Road. It is a three-mile ride to the Ridge mountaintop location. One would hardly guess that there would be a winery nestled high above the Silicon Valley in this high-tech region.

Far from the madding crowds
Great views from the tasting room at Ridge Monte Bello

The views are spectacular. On a clear day, views of San Francisco, the East Bay, and the Silicon Valley are breathtaking. But watch out for cyclists on the narrow, windy road to the top. Cyclists cherish the workout and, better yet, the exhilarating ride down the mountain. Ridge Monte Bello requires reservations. See visiting details for reservations and tasting fees.

Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

There is something special in the terroir at Monte Bello. The high altitude brings a vast difference in temperatures. Nighttime temps drop dramatically at this altitude. The soil is limestone, adding a touch of minerality to the wines. And, what can we say about Cabernet old vines and the intensity of flavors they produce? Year after year, Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most prestigious Cabs produced anywhere globally. Check out the 2107 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate from Monte Bello.

Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon planted in 1949
Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon planted in 1949

Another reason to love Ridge is the philosophy of the winery. The original owners, four Stanford engineers, purchased the old property and released their first vintage in 1962. They wanted to grow the grapes with as little harm to the environment as possible. Today, the new owners, a Japanese pharmaceutical company, carry on that philosophy. The vineyards are dry-farmed, and the vines are organically certified. Most of the staff is full-time, and some even live on the property. Now, that’s loyalty to your employees.

Ridge monte Bello
Organic farming

In recent years, Ridge has increased its lineup of wines. The vineyard manager and his team scout California for outstanding vineyards. Once Ridge finds a great vineyard, they purchase grapes, and from there come great wines!

More on Santa Cruz Mountain wineries

Comments

  1. Michael Beltran says

    MONTE BELLO IS UNLIKE MOST WINERY VISITS. COMMANDING VIEWS AND A VERY DEDICATED AND INFORMED STAFF. THE WINES SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES AND YOU CAN OFTEN TASTE SOMETHING OUT OF THE ORDINARY IF YOU LET YOUR WANTS BE KNOWN. WE HAD LUNCH AFTER IN WOODSIDE AND THAT PUT THE FINAL SPIN ON AN INFORMATIVE WINE EXPERIENCE.

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