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Gold Medal Wine Club
5330 Debbie Road, Suite 200
Santa Barbara, California 93111
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Greenwood Ridge Vineyards - Mendocino County

‘Extended hang-time is the real secret to making great wine.”

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 in a span of eight years, three of Greenwood’s wines 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.”

Allan Green

It's ironic that Allan Green chose to retreat from the San Francisco city-life to live in a remote area of Mendocino county, and now finds himself wishing more people would drop by to see him. It's not because people don't like his wines. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Since starting his winery in 1980, Greenwood Ridge has produced winner after winner. But with the tasting room located 8 miles from the winery, closer to town, Allan was in danger of becoming the Maytag repairman of the wine industry.

"We want people to discover how beautiful this place is," says Allan. Which was one reason he started the California Wine Tasting Championships. "It's a fun-filled weekend of fine wine, regional cuisine, and the finest scenery in Mendocino county," he insists. Since 1983, thousands of wine lovers have experienced this one-of-a-kind event that attracts visitors from all over the country.

During the last weekend in July each year, Allan hosts his famous wine-tasting event which is open to all levels of tasters—novices, amateurs and professionals. The idea is to correctly identify each wine by varietal type. After several rounds of elimination, the final round of contestants compete to identify each wine by appellation, vintage date and producer! Contestants may enter as individuals or as part of a team in the doubles competition. Prizes are awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers in all three expertise levels in both singles and doubles. Allan invites anyone interested in attending to call or write for an Entry Form. The event has received national exposure in such publications as Newsweek, Sunset, Wine Spectator and dozens of other magazines. Some of you may have even heard about it on the NBC Nightly News.

After catapulting his winery into the limelight, Allan created yet another sensation by commissioning several artists to visually and musically interpret his wines. "Describing the aroma or taste of a wine, often times I see a visual image before any words come to mind," says Allan. "I became intrigued with the idea of describing wines using music and art," he adds. The end product of this idea turned out to be a series of original paintings and musical scores which interpret the wine tasting experience.

Do you get the idea that Allan Green is an idea-man and a doer’ Perhaps he gets his creativity and drive from his father, Aaron Green, a well-known San Francisco architect. Incidentally, it was Allan's father who designed the winery tasting room made entirely from a single redwood tree.

Allan grew up in Los Altos, California, a suburb just south of San Francisco. He attended college at the University of California at Riverside, then went to UCLA where he earned his Masters Degree in Graphic Design. He created his own artistic path, running a successful international graphics design business. In the mid 1970s, burned out on the city scene and captivated by the beauty of Mendocino county, he escaped to the country.

Allan built a redwood home for himself in the Mendocino hills. He now spends his time running his winery and pursuing other artistic endeavors. He writes books, creates posters and designs wine labels. He also teaches wine appreciation classes from time to time. Allan was recognized by San Francisco Focus Magazine, as "one of California's most innovative wine authorities." As if all that is not enough, Allan finds time to hang another moniker on himself as a DJ for a local radio station where he puts together a Rock-and-Roll radio show every Thursday evening. Oh yes, he also has a one-of-a-kind collection of wine cans, some of which date back to the 1930's! And did I mention that it's right next to his collection of over 4,000 different beer cans’