A Look Back at the Fall Release Event at Monte Bello (i.e. Event pics!)

With all the excitement of harvest looming on the horizon, and all the forward looking this involves, it does indeed seem as if a proper “look back” at the Monte Bello Fall Release Event is in order; even though it was only last weekend!

Anyhow …

On behalf of all of us here at Ridge, and most especially the team here at Monte Bello, I wish to thank everyone who attended this extraordinary happening; I don’t know who was happier, our guests, or us!

I drove up that morning nervous, exhausted, stressed, and unhealthily focused. A huge event afoot, and all responsibilities on my shoulders. I was deranged.

What paused me, and fully recalibrated my psyche, was this:

That’s what I was looking at as I was unlocking the driveway gate. I was instantly unwound.

Once inside the Old Winery Barn, it was down to my office. That’s when things started to heat up again. So much to do, so little time. Staff began to arrive, the catering team arrived, the parking team arrived. So many people. I was beginning the routine that would be mine the rest of the day; running laps around the property. I was frenzied.

But pause was soon again given. It was tasting time.

You probably know by know just how good these new vintages are showing. I was happily rediscovering. Point scores are nice, and we’re happy to receive good ones, but at the end of the day, the wines have to perform when it matters most; when YOU’RE tasting them. I mean, sure the new issue of Wine Advocate had just simply showered down praises on these wines (97 points for the 2008 Monte Bello, and 95 points each for the 2009 Lytton Springs and the 2008 Monte Bello Chardonnay!) …

… but what were YOU going to think?

After tasting the line-up, I felt very good. Very, very good. And I felt that you, too, were going to feel very, very good.

Which was good, given that the first arrivals were starting to arrive, and as expected, the event had drawn out a hearty crop of serious Ridge-o-Philes. And believe you me, these weren’t the only two seriously vintage Ridge shirts I would see, though these are certainl two classic and excellent examples:

So it was go time, and we were ready. We had a great team on hand, the wines were showing beautifully, and some very key members of the winemaking team were in the house:

Paul Draper & Eric Baugher talking Monte Bello winemaking ...

Shun Ishikubo pouring 1992 Monte Bello out of magnum ...

Tara pouring below the ghosts of founders past ...


Zani expertly enacts the art of wine tasting merriment ...


Pete pours cool as a cucumber in the face of hot demand ...

No discussion of the Fall Release Event at Monte Bello is complete without acknowledging the presence of Pizza Politana. Not only did they manage to actually drive a wood-fired pizza oven up our mountain, but they then proceeded to serve some of the most delicious (and PERFECTLY paired) offerings we’ve ever had the pleasure of placing alongside our wines.
But a great idea (wood-fired pizza oven truck!), great ingredients (local, sustainable, organic, NorCal farmer’s market fare), and great pairing do not a great event make. It takes great staff, and the folks from Pizza Politana were tops.
 Things were definitely getting intense. You know when you’re starting to golf-cart the guests in that the event is really starting to happen.
Then suddenly this …
 … becomes this!
Fortunately, there was this to adjourn to (once the collective tummy was full up on pizza and wine!) …
Yeah, that’ll do …
 What a day, what a day …
When I began assembling the components of what have become this post, I was looking for one image, something that could somehow capture the magic of it all; I found this, and figured I had it …
Pizza and Monte Bello. Perfect.
But in looking through all the images I’d shot over the day, there was another idea that I just couldn’t shake, and in the end, it’s what I’ve decided to go with; the bookend.
After all was said and done, and I was coming down the mountain …
… I knew, finally and for certain, that all was well.

Categories: Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Events, Food & Wine Pairing, Lytton Springs, Monte Bello, Offerings, Paul Draper, Ridge Memorabilia, RIDGE Staff, Tasting Flights, Tasting Rooms, Varietals & Blends, Zinfandel

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2 replies

  1. What a fantastic event! Perfect weather for it, and the pizza was amazing. The wine, as usual, was outstanding, too. I’m so glad you’re starting to do more events like this, but, selfishly, I hope they don’t get too much more crowded!

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