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Always 5 Star Post

An Always5Star Guide to Ridge Vineyards Winery

Ridge Vineyards Winery

Do you love tasting California red wines? Do you enjoy a winery rich with history? Then I highly recommend that you take a personalized tour of Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello.

The beginning of my personalized tour

I was looking forward to learning about and tasting Ridge Vineyard wines. I choose to visit the Monte Bello location in Cupertino, California. There are several tours that you can choose from. All are fabulous and will instruct you on how the winery began and its history. It is important to know that you need to book your reservation on line: Ridge Vineyard Online Reservation.

The tasting room entrance and patio areas

I choose the "Estate Tastings" in order to enjoy a more semi-private experience. I also choose to add an additional tasting to this tour of their older vintage, which I highly recommend.

Nestled in a mountaintop - A perfect location for enjoying wine and views!

The Ridge Vineyard Monte Bello is located at 2,300 feet in the northern part of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The drive up to the winery is beautiful and quite an adventure too! Please note that it is a very steep and windy hill. However, once you arrive, you will appreciate the unparalleled mountain views of the Santa Clara County!

Monte Bello is situated in a beautiful location in the Santa Cruz Mountains

The tour begins with a brief overview of this century-old estate where your first taste starts with their lovely Chardonnay.

From the winemakers notes: "Color: light pale golden straw hue with citrus flavors, apricot, pear, melon, a light tropical beginning and ends & finishes with a refreshing sharpness."

For this tasting, we were offered the 2015 Chardonnay Estate wine

This tour included a trip out to the vineyard, where you can really appreciate the views and ecology lessons.

The Ridge vineyards produce quality grapes with an environmentally and socially responsible approach. Their process extracts color, flavor, and tannins from the grapes without use of commercial enzymes.


Be sure to wear comfortable shoes for the steep walk up the hill to the vineyard.

A tour of the vineyard helps you understand their commitment to the single-vineyard winemaking

You are then lead into a private room, where your tasting continues with a small appetizer plate that pairs well with the wine.


In 1976, Ridge Vineyards scored 5th among ten French and California wines at the Paris Tasting, which later became known as the Judgment of Paris.

A wonderful room with large table and great environment for tasting the wines

A menu is offered with the tasting that informs you of the grape blends.

The menu for my tasting

Once you are seated in the tasting room, the focus turns to their specialties, which are the reds. Knowledge of the wines and each selection continues with your host acting as your guide.

We tasted the 2015 Zinfandel, Ponzo Vineyard.

From the winemakers notes: "Nose of citrus blossom, raspberry and mango, minerally Bing cherry on the palate with supple tannins, refreshing acidity and a lingering finish."

The 2015 Ponzo Zinfandel- 97% Zinfandel, 3% Petite Sirah

Next up was the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate.

From the winemakers notes: "Deep purple color. Aromas of blackcurrant, cherries, clove spice, toasted oak, and cocoa. Ripe bramble fruit entry, medium-full body, supple tannins, and sweet oak; firm acid persists in a long finish."

The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon- 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc

The Estate Tasting tour usually ends with the wonderful 2014 Monte Bello. This is their legendary wine.

From the winemakers notes: "Complex mix of ripe mountain bramble, cassis, and currant fruits; dark chocolate, toasty oak, licorice, exotic spice. Full-bodied, with elegant chalky tannins, sensuous balance, integrated oak. Pure Monte Bello."


In 2006, the 1971 and 2000 Monte Bello cabernets won first place in both the original vintage wine and new vintage wine categories at the "Judgment of Paris 30th Anniversary Wine Tasting" in London and California.

The 2006 Monte Bello - 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc


In 2007, Paul Draper partner & winemaker is given The James Beard Award for winemaking.


Be sure to reserve the additional private tasting of their Monte Bello's! I cannot recommend this enough!

The fabulous Monte Bello's an Alway5Star recommend for tastings when visiting the Ridge Vineyard Winery

Final Thoughts:

I enjoy sharing with you this amazing day at Ridge Vineyard winery. The tour was about 90 minutes and I wish it could have been longer!

When visiting the area, this is an absolute Always5Star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 luxury travel wine experience! I hope this photo journal will inspire you to visit too. I know that you will not be able to resist buying a bottle or two. You might even become a wine member with all its privileges! Cheers to your Ridge Vineyard Winery and Monte Bello wine tasting experience!

Cheers Ridge Vineyard Winery!


When traveling to this area, I stayed at the beautiful boutique hotel Hotel Valencia on Santana Row in San Jose. I hired a driver to take me to the winery. It was about a 30 minute drive from the hotel.

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🌟 Please note: This was a sponsored opportunity to taste wines at the Ridge Vineyard Winery However, I was so taken with the wines that I purchased several on my own. My opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated for writing this article or endorsing their wine.

About Pamela Rossi

Pamela Rossi

I am passionate about travel and taking each moment and making it a five star experience. My goal is to create those experiences for YOU!