Paul Draper Description
Paul Draper, the venerable winemaker behind Ridge Vineyards, has spent over five decades crafting some of the most distinguished wines in California. His journey into winemaking began with a calling, sparked by the simple yet profound experience of savoring good wine during his youth. This early fascination eventually led him to explore winemaking in various corners of the world.
In 1968, Draper returned to California and found his home at Ridge Vineyards, where he embraced the philosophy of pre-industrial winemaking. Drawing inspiration from the traditional techniques of Europe, he championed the concept of single-vineyard wines, allowing the terroir to speak through the grapes.
Draper’s commitment to quality and authenticity bore fruit, quite literally, when the 1971 Monte Bello captivated the wine world by triumphing at the 1976 Paris tasting. This iconic moment showcased California’s potential for world-class wines.
Not content with Bordeaux-like success, Draper ventured into the world of old vine Zinfandel, pioneering its transformation into fine wine. His dedication earned him numerous accolades, including being named one of Decanter’s “Men of the Year” alongside legends like Robert Mondavi and André Tchelistcheff.
For Draper, winemaking is more than a profession; it’s a passionate craft rooted in tradition, where each bottle tells a story of the land it comes from. His legacy endures as a testament to the enduring allure of wines that are true to their origins, reflecting a profound respect for both nature and the art of winemaking.
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