In 1979 there were very few vineyards planted in the area now called Carneros. Most insiders thought the climate and soil conditions were too extreme for quality grape growing. With such harsh conditions in mind, Kent Rasmussen planted his first six acres of Carneros Pinot Noir in 1979. A quarter century later he has established an international reputation for growing and producing distinguished Pinot Noir, and Carneros is now considered one of the best growing regions in the world.
Kent's earliest plantings were suitably mature to start making ultra-premium Pinot Noir by 1986. He crushed about 10 tons of Pinot Noir and small amounts of other varieties, including Chardonnay, purchased from neighboring vineyards using the tractor shed and garage as a cellar. The wines were very well received and his company started to grow. In a few years, Kent and his wife Celia Ramsay were running the winery full time producing great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Starting in 1989, Kent and Celia launched a second brand, called "Ramsay" - Celia's maiden name - which was originally intended to focus on some 'less-than-usual' varietal wines. But as time passed, the Ramsay brand has taken on an entirely different identity, that of a true 'second label'. Best known for its high quality, but lower-price, Ramsay Pinot Noir is often poured by the glass in wine bars and restaurants. The Ramsay-brand line also includes a Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Merlot.
Since its modest beginnings, the Kent Rasmussen Winery has evolved into one of the most important Pinot Noir producers in the Carneros region.
Kent Rasmussen Winery & Ramsay Wines / 1001 Silverado
Trail / St. Helena, CA 94574 / Ph. 707-963-5667
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