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Greenwood Ridge Vineyards - Mendocino County


Greenwood Ridge’s estate vineyard was expanded to 12 acres in 1986.

If you’ve ever been to the Anderson Valley in Mendocino County, California, you have a pretty good idea why Allan Green was drawn away from the San Francisco city-life. Greenwood Ridge Vineyards is nestled atop a 1,400-foot high ridge overlooking the picturesque Anderson Valley. Surrounded by nothing but lush forests of evergreen and redwood trees, the winery was built to co-exist with the beautiful natural surroundings. In fact, the winery’s tasting room was constructed from a single redwood tree that blew down during a storm on the property in the late 1960s.

Why build a winery here, in such an isolated hillside location? “Unlike our neighbors on the valley floor, we have very little concern over the fog and frosts that play havoc with the vineyards at lower elevations,” says owner Allan Green. “We can take advantage of more sunshine at our high elevation allowing us to grow grapes that require more time on the vine,” he adds. “Extended hang-time is the real secret to making great wine.” Indeed, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and White Riesling grapes, which are not commonly found in the valley, thrive in the winery’s tiny 12-acre vineyard.

Allan Green’s family had already purchased land adjacent to the vineyard in 1971, as a family retreat. Two years later they bought the Greenwood Ridge site from Tony Husch (Tony founded nearby Husch Vineyards, which is now owned by the Oswald family). Tony planted 8 acres of vineyards at the Greenwood Ridge property in 1972, and is one of the oldest vineyards in the Anderson Valley.

Allan’s plan at the time was simply to maintain the existing vineyard, sell most of the harvest and keep some grapes for his own to dabble in a little home winemaking. That is exactly what he did up to 1979, selling his crop to nearby Edmeades Winery (now part of Kendall-Jackson), and making a bit of Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon for himself. On a whim, in 1979, Allan decided to enter his homegrown Riesling in the prestigious Orange County Fair Wine Competition—and promptly won a Gold Medal! The very next year he started his own winery, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards. The name incidentally, comes from the Caleb Greenwood family who first settled the area in the mid-1800s.

Greenwood Ridge’s estate vineyard was expanded to 12 acres in 1986, with additional Riesling and Merlot vines. Overall production stands today at 7-8,000 cases. “That’s where I want to stay,” reports Allan. “The winery was not designed to be a big producer,” he adds. “I want to keep it manageable, concentrating on making small lots of the best wine possible.”

Greenwood Ridge is a small winery with a big following. Tiny, handcrafted batches of exquisite wines that are always sold out upon release, has propelled the winery to cult-like status among avid wine enthusiasts. Within the last eight years, three of Greenwood’s wines have been placed in the Top 100 wines in the world by Wine Spectator magazine. Seven wines have earned Best of Show in the major wine competitions held each year. And numerous other wines have earned Best of Class honors, as well as Gold Medals—too many of which to count.

The problem with being small and located in a remote area is exposure—or lack thereof. Which is largely why Allan started the now-famous California Wine Tasting Championships, held each year in July at the winery. “It occurred to me early on that because of our remote location, just having an open-house wouldn’t cut it,” he said. “The Tasting event pulls in people from all over the country who have fun at the competition, enjoy the beautiful surroundings and discover some great wines.” For more information on this popular event, check out the enclosed pamphlet, or call 707-895-2002.



Dear Platinum Series Wine Club Members:

Greetings from Mendocino Ridge, our new appellation!

Those of you familiar with our estate bottled Anderson Valley Merlot may be wondering if we have moved. No, our vineyards are still in the same place, on Greenwood Ridge, six miles from the Pacific Ocean, overlooking Anderson Valley. We are within the Anderson Valley appellation, but now we have a new, more fitting appellation: Mendocino Ridge, as our estate wines are now labeled.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Mendocino Ridge appellation is that only ridgetops over 1,200 feet in elevation are included. This elevation restriction creates a non-contiguous region, ‘islands in the sky” above the fog. Being above the coastal fog is what enables us to ripen Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon varietals that won’t usually fully ripen on the floor of Anderson Valley.

I’d like to take this opportunity to personally invite you to our festive annual event, the California Wine Tasting Championships, the weekend of July 29 & 30, 2000. It’s a great party, with live music, delicious food, gorgeous scenery, chocolate tasting and cheese tasting contests and other entertainment to go along with the wine tasting competition. For more information, please visit our web site at ‘www.greenwoodridge.com.”
Enjoy!

Allan Green, Owner / Winemaker

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