Earlier this summer, we hosted a dozen top sommeliers and wine directors from across the USA and Canada. This marked our fifth annual Somm Symposium, a program created to build stronger bonds with top wine professionals across North America. We have been fortunate to attract several Master Sommeliers and a Master of Wine to the symposium during the first five years. The symposium allows these true “wine geeks” to casually interact with our winemakers and viticulturists over two days of tastings, tours and meals. The program showcases our vineyards and winery, with particular emphasis on our farming and production methods, as well as the 50+ years of history that have passed since the first vintage in 1962.
Since it’s a production focused visit, the marketing team stays out of the way and allows winemakers and vineyard managers to lead the presentations and discussions. David Gates, Eric Baugher, John Olney, Will Thomas, and Kyle Theriot each presented aspects of our present winemaking and growing practices. Paul Draper provided historical context, the philosophy behind his 47 vintages with Ridge, and shared his vision of where we’re going in the next 50 years. Paul’s oral history and insight were a pivotal and much-anticipated aspect of the Somm Symposium for all of the guest sommeliers.
With tours of both the historic Monte Bello winery and the modern Lytton Springs winery, our guest sommeliers were exposed to the full breadth of our winemaking practices. Vineyard walks with the production team highlighted our organic farming methods, new plantings at Monte Bello, and century old mixed varietal plantings at Lytton Springs and Geyserville. While at the wineries, we tasted a six year vertical of Monte Bello and three vintages each of Geyserville & Lytton Springs from three different decades. All of the current release wines were also tasted, as well as sampling wines still aging in barrel. Over two evenings of dinners, wines from six decades of production accentuated the continuity and high standard of quality that is expected from Ridge.
We look forward to hosting our sixth Somm Symposium in 2016 with the next round of outstanding sommeliers from around the world. Special thanks to the 63 alumni of this program, your participation and continued support are greatly appreciated!