Ravenswood Winery, Inc. was founded in 1976 by winemaker and President, Joel Peterson, and his partner, W. Reed Foster, a San Francisco business man, now the Chairman and CEO of Ravenswood. That first year’s crush produced enough juice to make 327 cases of Zinfandel. Released three years later, this big, stylish wine set a standard that succeeding vintages have followed.

Today Joel and Reed are assisted by Justin Faggioli as Ravenswoods Executive Vice President and Callie Konno as Chief Financial Officer. Together, the Management Team has successfully directed the talents of the unique individuals that make up the Ravenswood Family. Ravenswood has become a highly specialized winery in Sonoma, California, which annually produces in the neighborhood of 200,000 cases of exceptional wine. Almost three quarters of the production is Zinfandel, and the balance is evenly split between Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, a thousand or so cases of barrel-fermented Chardonnay (in one taster's words, "The reddest-tasting Chardonnay on the market"), and finally, small amounts of other miscellaneous reds and white wines. Almost half of this past year's production was Ravenswood's "starter" Zinfandel, the Vintners Blend, which has been a consistent gold medal winner over the years. This wine has been blended and bottled by our winemaker since 1983, using up to 40% of wine vinted by Ravenswood.

While the Vintners Blend Series (Zinfandel, Merlot and Chardonnay) stresses early accessibility, Ravenswood's other hand-crafted releases, such as our Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah, and Gewurztraminer to name a few, possess a unique vintage and vineyard identity in addition to an intense, powerful ("gothic," as one wine critic wrote) character with which the winery has come to be associated. These attributes arise from what can only be called stubborn and impractical Old World enological practices. Our wines ferment in small wooden tanks and rely upon wild, natural yeasts. Grape stems are frequently added for structure, and the cap of skins is punched by hand three to five times per day. We age our wine in small French oak barrels, fine it gently with egg whites, and eschew filters and centrifuges as much as possible because we believe they tend to diminish flavor.

Many of our carefully selected grapes for our Sonoma County Series and Vineyard Designate Series come from dry-farmed 70- to 100-year-old vineyards which yield low crops of highly concentrated fruit. The younger vines are meticulously farmed and regularly thinned to ensure premium quality. Our wines from vineyards that consistently exhibit distinctive flavor and excellence are vinified and bottled separately, with the vineyards designated on the bottles.

The resulting wines, whether vintners blend or single vineyard designates, are rich, complex, fully varietal, and well suited to aging. They will generally reach their peak in five to ten years, although most – particularly the Zinfandels – are drunk young and greedily by people who love big, gutsy, unapologetic wines.

In 1990 the winery adopted the slogan (most likely against its will) "NO WIMPY WINES" and has since developed many variations on that theme. The winery’s philosophy is that they take their winemaking and marketing very seriously indeed, but try to have plenty of fun along the way and not take themselves too seriously. We believe with a passion, as do many others in the California wine industry, that wine needs to be removed from its pedestal, and placed on people’s dining room table.

Ravenswood Winery / 18701 Gehricke Road / Sonoma, CA / 707-938-1960



Search for Ravenswood Winery Wines to Purchase online