In 2016 we broke ground on a field of hay and thistle on a rolling ridge 1,000 feet up on Sonoma Mountain. Tests had predicted soils of cobbled rocks and gravel, but we weren’t prepared for the number of enormous boulders we unearthed in the process of ripping the soil. Undeterred, we piled them on a hillside that was too steep to plant, and we proceeded to plant 10,000 vines of Pinot Noir on our resulting 7 acres.
Three years later we harvested our first crop and produced 45 cases of wine that immediately impressed critics with ratings of 95 points. Now we are selling our grapes to premium vintners in Sonoma County – Joseph Jewell Wines (who makes our Pinot Noir), Brooks Note Winery (who makes our Rosé) and Lynmar Estate.
From the beginning we have farmed our vineyard without chemicals or pesticides, and we received our organic certification in 2019. Since then, we have also been farming following biodynamic principals. Our partnerships with experienced winemakers and farmers has helped to create exceptional wines of our own. We invite you to join our journey.
The name Panther Ridge was inspired by a series of wonderful black cats in our family who have encouraged us to live life to its fullest and not take ourselves too seriously. Be like a cat – relish the sunshine, find time for play, and delight in the flavors of a good meal. That, coupled with the occasional mountain lion sighting in our nighttime cameras created our panther theme.
I grew up loving Pinot Noir. My dad diligently collected French Burgundy from state-controlled liquor stores in Iowa – not your typical boutique wine stores of today! When I went out with my friends in college and they brought six packs of beer, I brought a bottle of Beaujolais. In grad school, I married a wine buyer. This was the beginning of my history with wine.
After a lifetime of studying and collecting fine wine, I finally have a chance to produce my own. I found an incredible piece of land in Sonoma County, tracked down an amazing winemaker, found a farming company who would farm my grapes without chemicals, and in 2019 we launched Panther Ridge Wines. Right out of the gate we got two 95 scores.
Good farming and the right soils and climate really do make a difference. We do everything we can at Panther Ridge to preserve that flavor and don’t mess with it. No added chemicals, no filtering, natural yeasts, and careful handling of the grapes and wine from start to finish. It pays off. You won’t be disappointed.
Adrian grew up in the fog-shrouded coast of northern California, a ways out there. Humboldt is a patchwork of micro-climates that reflects the variety of challenges and rewards of winemaking. It’s a down-to-earth place that’s deeply embedded in every aspect of Adrian’s being.
When he moved to Sonoma County, he uncovered an interest in the origin of wine and the evolution from vineyard to barrel to bottle. Once he was immersed in everything wine, what else could he do but keep going? He went on to found his own brand, Joseph Jewell Wines and now sources wine from boutique vineyards in Sonoma and Humboldt County, creating elegant wines reflecting the character of each vineyard.
When Adrian first came to visit Panther Ridge, it was to help Suzanne create a private label of wine. But it was not long after that he fell in love with the site and the promise of the vineyard, and now he creates his own Pinot Noir from Panther Ridge at Joseph Jewell Wines.
Garry Brooks is proprietor and winemaker at Brooks Note Winery. He first purchased grapes from Panther Ridge in 2021 to make Pinot Noir for his own label. While we were talking about the upcoming harvest, Garry suggested we make a Panther Ridge Rosé. This was something I had been contemplating, and it sounded like a great opportunity to work with Garry and create another wine besides Pinot Noir for our label. So I said yes! Our Rosé of Pinot Noir has turned out to be a favorite of our customers, and I look forward to continuing this venture with him.
Garry sources his grapes from other premium vineyards in Marin and Sonoma County, and it was a pleasure to meet him through the Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance. When Garry came up to visit Panther Ridge Vineyard he immediately expressed an interest in working with us, and we’re so happy to have him making his own Pinot Noir from our grapes and now our own Rosé!
Daylight Vineyard Management is a small company that prides itself in its personal connection to customers, employees and the land they farm. Working with Daniel has been transformative in creating a customized farming plan for Panther Ridge, making strategic decisions that consider the particular climate and circumstances of our rocky soils and Petaluma Gap breezes.
Daniel has supported our efforts to maintain our certified organic status, helping us to control weeds without harmful chemicals, and finding the best combination of organic fertilizers and sprays to keep the vines healthy and vigorous. He also has a terrific crew who carefully maintain our vines year-round and harvest the crop by hand at night, providing grapes to our wineries at cool temperatures for the best quality wine possible.