Paradise Ridge Winery
Sonoma County region
The Paradise Ridge property sits on a ridge site with a truly incredible view of the entire Russian River Valley.
One of the most difficult facets in telling the story of Paradise Ridge Winery is to decide exactly where to begin. To be sure, the smallish Sonoma County winery is a virtual plethora of interesting facts and anecdotes, easily making it one of the most writable wineries in all of California.
It all started more than forty years ago for Walter and Marijke Byck (pronounced Bic). The New Jersey-born physician moved his wife and family to Santa Rosa, the sprawling center of Sonoma County’s growth. As their family grew, the Bycks began looking for a country place to serve as a retreat.
One sunny day in 1978, Marijke (pronounced Ma-rye-ka) stumbled across a piece of property immediately adjacent to her son’s school, in the fashionable Fountaingrove neighborhood and within the city limits of Santa Rosa. The property was an old sheep farm and covered 156 acres. She immediately called her husband who visited the property and who soon proclaimed to his family, “We have just seen a little piece of paradise.” The deal was made and the name Paradise Ranch seemed specifically appropriate. Since the prospect of sheep ranching didn’t strike anyone in the Byck family’s fancy, it was decided to plant grapes instead. For the next decade plus, Paradise Ranch produced high-quality grapes for a large number of neighboring wineries.
In 1984, the Bycks became partners with Robert Stemmler in his nearby high profile winery; they sold him some grapes in exchange for a small part of his business. When Stemmler sold five years later to Buena Vista, the Bycks decided to pursue their own winery idea. Additional plantings were undertaken with the idea of building something on their own property.
After securing the proper permits, the winery was finally finished in 1994 and renamed by son, Rene Byck, as Paradise Ridge since the property sits on a ridge site with a truly incredible view of the entire Russian River Valley. The winery’s first releases came in 1994 as well.
Over the years, Paradise Ridge became well known for their award-winning artisan wines, as well for their stunning property, complete with a world-class sculpture garden overlooking the Russian River Valley. Today, the winery is overseen by Rene and Sonia Byck, the son and daughter of Walter and Marijke Byck.
Unfortunately, the Byck family lost their mother and leader Marijke Byck in 2006, and they continue to carry on her tradition of sharing Paradise with the Sonoma County community. The Byck family’s strength was again tested in October of 2017 when their estate was left in ruins by wildfires. Luckily, the vineyards and art survived and became a source of comfort to the Sonoma community. They have rebuilt and now cherish even more the land that they call Paradise.
We are so happy to share this inspiring Sonoma County winery with our Platinum Plus Wine Club members. Enjoy!
Map of the area
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
We are very excited that our 2009 “Elevation” Rockpile Vineyard Cabernet was selected for you to enjoy. What we have here is one of Sonoma County’s best vineyards from one of the finest vintages in recent history; an excellent combination we believe. This vineyard is the highest in the Rockpile AVA, 2,000 feet to be exact, and this is one of only a couple of Cabernets that come from this hillside oasis. Lots of Cabernet Sauvignon, a good dash of Cabernet Franc, with a splash of Petit Verdot and Merlot make this our most sought after and sacred wine.
Our winemaking philosophy is that at the earliest stage of a grape’s ripeness, we harvest all of the balanced vines, and we feel this makes the finished wine one that will display both true varietal character and a sense of place, along with more focused fruit. We cold soaked all of the different varietals that went into this wine and this, coupled with submerged cap fermentation, and a long extended cold fermentation process, makes this wine a delight to drink. Almost every wine we make is less than 14% alcohol, which we feel makes our wines wonderful to pair with food.
Our winery is located on a ridge about 800 feet above the Russian River Valley floor and our wonderful wines, coupled with the most spectacular view in Sonoma County, make our Estate a true paradise. You can enjoy our wonderful outdoor sculpture exhibit and guided or self-guided tours of our vineyards. The San Francisco Chronicle once said that we had the best views and the best place to picnic in Sonoma County. Come by on a Wednesday night in the summer and enjoy our wines and sunset. Any way you look at visiting and tasting Paradise Ridge, it is truly a feast for the senses.
Rene C. Byck