The Love Behind Community and Craft
A Commitment to Create the Best Sonoma Winery Experience
In 1960, when Walter Byck proposed to Marijke Hoenselaars in an art garden in the Netherlands, little did they know their love affair would lead them to build one of the renowned Russian River Valley wineries of Sonoma County. In 1978, after a more than a year of searching, Walter came home one afternoon and announced to his family, “Marijke, children, I have found paradise!” Walter and Marijke — wine lovers, art appreciators, and philanthropists — saw their future in 155 acres overlooking the Russian River Valley. Walter and Marijke named their new estate Paradise Ranch and began to plant the property with a selection of varietals best suited for the land and climate. By 1994, their vision manifested into a beautiful estate winery, an elegant family of wines, a curated sculpture grove, and a gathering space for their community — Paradise Ridge Winery was officially opened.
By 1997, Walter had retired from a successful career in medicine, and he and Marijke focused solely on their passion: stewarding a successful winery and supporting philanthropic efforts relating to the arts within the community. Community has always been a core pillar of Paradise Ridge, and our matriarch, Marijke, spent her life working in a leadership capacity at UNICEF, Task Force on the Homeless and Catholic Charities, among many other causes local to Sonoma County. She was compassionate and committed to global peace and justice and brought courage and hope to those in need at home and abroad. Marijke’s lifelong commitment to making a difference to create a better world is still felt today through friends, family, and all those she touched.
Walter funneled his energies into art and developed an expansive sculpture garden on a perfect four-acre grove of wooded glens with ancient gnarled oaks and open meadows. “Galleries” were connected by simple footpaths, and sculptures were placed among mossy rocks and grassy clearings. Instead of exclusively permanent pieces, the grove supports the arts with ever-changing exhibits. An example of their philanthropic efforts came in 2004 when Walter spearheaded a community-wide art project known as Sculpture Sonoma, which created a space for local artists to display their work.
Tragedy struck the family in 2006 with Marijke’s passing. Walter dedicated the grove in her honor, and today it is known as Marijke’s Grove. In 2012, the Byck family began working with the Voigt Family Sculpture Foundation. Their combined efforts bring cutting-edge free public art to the foothills of Sonoma County.
In 2017, tragedy struck again as a firestorm enveloped the iconic estate property, but it did not diminish the family’s vision of sustainability or their commitment to community. After a multimillion-dollar remodel, Paradise Ridge Winery reopened in December 2018 and, once again, offers a gathering place where guests enjoy gracious hospitality and the beauty of Sonoma County.
But through tragedy, the family and community stayed strong. Today, the winery is managed by the children of Walter and Marijke and their dedicated team, who are all equally committed to making Paradise Ridge Winery one of the best wineries in Sonoma. We host guests from near and far to our multifaceted estate offering the best Sonoma winery experience for guests to savor vineyard-designated wines from the Russian River Valley and Rockpile American Viticulture Areas (AVA) paired with seasonal delicacies.
With award-winning vineyard-designated wines, sweeping sunset views of Russian River Valley vineyards, and Marijke’s Grove to explore, you’ll see why, after 40 years of conscientious stewardship, Paradise Ridge is found on numerous “best winery tours in Napa and Sonoma” lists.
Whether you begin or end your Russian River Valley wine tasting tour with a visit to one of the best wineries in Sonoma, the Byck family and our hospitality team are ready welcome you to our community and create with you the best Sonoma wine tasting experience — one that you will be sure to remember and return to again and again!