Paradise for the Senses
Paradise Ridge Winery offers its visitors far more than fine wine; it is a Paradise for the senses. Guests are invited to wander through life-size sculptures in Marijke’s Grove, gaze upon panoramic vineyard views from an outdoor tasting bar, or explore Fountaingrove history and the tales of its legendary winemaker. From the expansive leaf shaped deck, mahogany verandas and terracotta terrace, visitors can enjoy sweeping views from the magnificent Russian River Valley, to the rugged hillsides which perch over the Pacific Ocean. This is only a taste of what one can expect when visiting ‘Paradise’.
The unique wine country experience begins after passing through the entrance gate and arriving at Paradise Meadows, an open field which is home to three-piece sculpture series “A Brief History”, by artist Gale Wagner. The road then turns to reveal Marijke’s Grove, a sculpture exhibit nestled in a four-acre grove of ancient gnarled oaks. Within the wooden glens are “galleries” connected by simple footpaths. Sculptures are displayed among mossy rocks and small grassy clearings in this natural outdoor gallery. Rather than acquiring a permanent sculpture collection, Marijke’s Grove supports the arts by creating an annually changing exhibit space where art, ideas and nature converge. Adjacent to the grove, in the environs of the Nagasawa winemaking building, an art garden reveals additional sculptures displayed among the trees.
The road continues to the winery, where a European style courtyard welcomes guests upon arrival. Once in the tasting room, extraordinary woodwork abounds, especially on the tasting bar which was designed by master craftsman and artist David Marks. Marks spent over three hundred hours creating a bar inlaid with the design of a grapevine. Along with incredibly rare quilted mahogany, there are seven types of exotic woods which make up this exquisite piece. On the expansive mahogany verandas, tasters enjoy an outdoor bar which is a perfect compliment to the panoramic views which encompasses 21 acres of estate vineyards, sweeping vistas of Russian River Valley and far beyond.
In the cellar of the winery, the walls reveal a Fountaingrove historical exhibit, which focuses on the life of winemaker Kanaye Nagasawa. Paradise Ridge founder Marijke Byck-Hoenselaars, along with the Friends of Kagoshima, spearheaded this project on the fascinating history behind the man who made the Fountaingrove Winery famous. Nagasawa was one of the first Japanese to immigrate into the United States in 1867. Hearing rumors that Sonoma County had the perfect climate and soil to cultivate grapes, Nagasawa along with Thomas Lake Harris (founder of the “Brotherhood of New Life” sect) purchased Fountaingrove in 1875. In 1878, 400 acres of vineyards were planted and in 1882 construction of the winery was complete. By the turn of the century, the winery was making 10% of all wines in California. Nagasawa soon became known as “The Grape King” and together with Luther Burbank discovered new methods in viticulture practices. While exploring photographs and artifacts from Fountaingrove, one can only imagine what life in this utopian paradise was like. In 1995 a Chardonnay vineyard was named to honor Nagasawa and this limited Paradise Ridge wine proudly designates “Nagasawa Vineyard” on its label.
Additional wines available for tasting include the estate Blanc de Blanc Sparkling wine, estate Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, an estate and Rockpile Zinfandel, Rockpile Cabernet Sauvignon, estate Petite Sirah and limited release proprietary blends. The wines of paradise are carefully handcrafted to bring ultimate enjoyment to food, family and friends.
The gates to the estate are open from 11-5 daily, allowing visitors plenty of time to indulge and be pleased to know that
Paradise Ridge is indeed, a paradise for the senses.