Mindego Ridge is a small 10-acre Santa Cruz Mountains vineyard perched on a south facing, shale-laced slope 8 miles from the Pacific lovingly farmed and cared for by husband and wife owners, David & Stacey Gollnick. Our mission is to produce 100% estate grown, single vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that authentically express the marine-influenced mountain terroir that is our home. Wines are crafted in small lots with minimal intervention by cool-climate virtuoso, Ehren Jordan.
David & Stacey Gollnick
What is the most overlooked terroir in California? It’s a question I am asked often. The answer is always the same: The Santa Cruz Mountains. These rugged hillsides just south of San Francisco are home to some of the world’s greatest vineyards and wines.
– Antonio Galloni, California’s Best Kept Secret, Vinous Media, July 2013
Mindego Ridge Vineyard Upper Mountain Blocks
N. Santa Cruz Mountains Appellation
N. Santa Cruz Mountains Vineyards & Wineries
Santa Cruz Mountains American Viticultural Area (AVA)
The Santa Cruz Mountains have played a pivotal role in the history of winemaking in California, with roots going back over 100 years, and including legendary winemakers such as Paul Masson, Martin Ray, David Bennion (Ridge), and David Bruce. During California’s Vinous renaissance of the 1970s, it was arguably the first region to produce Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with a flavor, character, and textural profile reminiscent of Burgundy. The region gained international recognition in the 1976 Judgement of Paris with the 1973 David Bruce Winery Chardonnay placing 10th in the white wine tasting and the 1971 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon placing 5th in the red wine tasting. Recognized as an AVA in 1981, the Santa Cruz Mountains Appellation was among the first to be defined by its mountain topography. Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot Noir is quite rare with approximately 600 acres planted in the entire appellation.
Mindego Ridge Micro-Climate & Geology
Growing degree days
Fractured Shale Subsoil covered with 10″-18″ of silty clay loam
675 to 935 ft
Purisma Formation ranging in age from the latest Miocene to late Pilocene
Altitude and marine influence defines much of our cool climate since the site is bordered by two bodies of water – the Pacific Ocean on the west (8 mi) and the San Francisco Bay on the east. In this unique climatic zone, California’s late season heat spikes are moderated, producing expressive wines with vibrant fruit, energy, complexity and depth.
Mindego Ridge Vineyard Block Map
Mindego Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir Blocks 4, 5, & 6
I’m a big believer that great wines come from great sites, farmed well and made with authenticity.
Winemaker Ehren Jordan began his career with a two-year apprenticeship in the Rhone, followed by years of making wines for Neyers Vineyards and Turley Wine Cellars. Ehren and Anne-Marie Failla founded Failla in 1998 and since then have built a winery and caves in St. Helena, as well as a reputation around a growing portfolio of wines that include Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays influenced by Ehren’s viticultural training in France. In 2008, the San Francisco Chronicle named Ehren “Winemaker of the Year.” Ehren took interest in our project when he visited the vineyard in the summer of 2013 and today we are fortunate to have our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay crafted with his expertise.
Great Wines Come From Great Sites
Great wines are made in the vineyard and manifest a sense of place – this is the philosophy that inspires our wine making practices. Our goal is to create an authentic wine that expresses the character and nuance of our unique vineyard site. With 8.7 acres of Pinot Noir and 1.3 acres of Chardonnay yielding typically 2 tons per acre, wines are made in small lots with a non-interventionist style of wine making. Nothing is added to the wine: no yeast, nutrients, or other additives – just a small amount of sulfur dioxide to stabilize the wine at bottling. Hand sorting, native yeast fermentation, hand punch-downs, no fining, no filtration – these practices retain a pure and transparent expression of the vineyard site.
Cool temperature night picks at harvest preserve the character of the fruit.
Dave and crew hand sorting in the vineyard at harvest
Honored and humbled to be momentary stewards of this land that is our home, our mission is to tread lightly while providing meticulous care to the vineyard. Every shoot on every vine is touched many times during the growing season – pruning, training, lateral removal, fruit thinning, and every other aspect of vine maintenance is performed by hand. Daily attention to the care of the vines enhances their well-being, as well as ours. We implement a comprehensive farming program to achieve optimal vine health and fruit quality, adopting best practices from organic, sustainable and biodynamic farming disciplines. This commitment, in concert with soil, sun and rain, produces an authentic expression of what Mindego Ridge’s unique terrior has to say.
Visit Our Shared Tasting Room
14598 Big Basin Way, Ste. A, Saratoga, CA 95070
Hours – Mon, Thur, Sun 12-5 PM | Fri, Sat 12-7 PM | Other times by appt.
Burgundy & Bordeaux Varietal Estate Wines of Limited Production
Grown in the Santa Cruz Mountains
We are honored to share our tasting room with Lexington Wine Co. offering small production Bordeaux varietal wines born of high elevation mountain vineyards in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA.
Located in downtown Saratoga, in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, our tasting room offers educational wine tasting experiences with knowledgeable staff and frequently the proprietors and winemakers of Mindego Ridge Vineyard and Lexington Wine Co. We accept walk-in visitors and offer a continually changing five-wine flight. Please call in advance to make reservations for groups of six or more.