Nestled on a ridge overlooking the Russian River Valley, Paradise Ridge Winery is a family wine estate dedicated to producing the finest Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, sparkling and proprietary blend wines. The fertile rocky soil and sunny hillside exposure of the Paradise vineyards help create the wines that proudly carry the Paradise Ridge label. The vineyards adjoin the lands of the historic Fountaingrove Winery that at the turn of the last century won international acclaim for its wines.
For over ten years, Paradise Ridge Winemaker Dan Barwick has handcrafted exquisite Paradise Ridge wines and produced some of the most food friendly wines in California. Diligently he oversees every step of the winemaking process from the vineyard to the bottle.
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Paradise Ridge Winemaking Process
All of the vineyards we work with practice green harvesting. This involves several ‘Passes’ (the removing of grapes not suitable for making wine). This is done on three separate occasions. First, when the fruit sets, secondly, when veraison (When berries turn from green to (red/black) or (yellow/green) has nearly completed and a third and/or forth time just prior to the harvest date. The grapes are then hand harvested and pass through a sorting table before we gently de-stem the clusters, leaving as many whole berries as possible for the “cold soak”.
Once de-stemmed, the grapes are cold soaked in small half-ton bins for several days at 40 degrees F. Special Enzymes are added at this stage, which allows us to achieve greater extraction while continuing to handle the fruit in the gentlest fashion.
The ‘must’ (as it’s now called) is then transferred to ‘open top’ tanks, where fermentation takes place by adding specially selected yeasts. Once the fermentation is active the skins are submerged with a “heading down cage’ creating a cap. This process keeps the skins in continuous contact with the juice allowing for a full, but gentle extraction. Our tanks are equipped with special cooling jackets, which allows us to control the juice, in and below the cap, at different temperatures. The advantage of this is that with the warmer temp in the cap (90 degrees F) we can achieve better extraction, while the cooler temp (75 degrees F) for the juice below, helps us maintain the more delicate and fruity esters, which are now present.
Once fermentation is complete the juice is drained off and then the “must” is pressed off to tanks where they are inoculated with a malolactic bacteria. Once sufficiently active they are then transferred to selected barrels, where the final stages of primary and secondary (maloloactic) fermentation occur. At the completion of this process, the wine is racked, sulphured and returned to the oak barrels for aging.