Mindego Ridge Vineyard
- Location: Santa Cruz Mountains, California
- Elevation: 700-950 feet
- Proximity to the Pacific Ocean: 9 miles
- Row Orientation: Magnetic North to South with a full East to West exposure, 25-30% slope
- Clones: Pinot Noir Dijon clones 114, 115, 667, 777, 828, 943 and Calera
- Soil: fractured shale and sandstone covered with 10”-18” silty clay loam
- Geological Formation and Age: West of the San Andreas Fault this region consists of Purisima formation ranging in age from the latest Miocene (about 7 million years ago) to the late Pliocene (about 3 million years ago)
- Growing degree days: 2200-2400
- Spacing 7′ x 4′
Perched on a shale-laced mountain, Mindego Ridge Vineyard is a 10-acre vineyard located in the Santa Cruz Mountains, 40 miles south of San Francisco and 9 miles east of the Pacific Ocean. It is known for producing world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and is part of a resurgence in the region that began with pioneers Paul Masson and Martin Ray in the early 20th century.
The Santa Cruz Mountains have a long history of wine-making, including notable moments such as producing two winning wines in the 1976 Judgement of Paris, both red and white.
The Santa Cruz Mountains AVA was officially recognized in 1981 and was one of the first AVAs to be defined by its mountain topography, including vineyards located at high elevations up to 2600 feet. The AVA’s location near the coast and its proximity to the ocean result in a maritime climate that influences the terroir and the wines produced in the region.
The unique mountain terrain and the thriving grape-growing community in the Santa Cruz Mountains caught the attention of Dave and Stacey Gollnick, the owners of Mindego Ridge. They were drawn to the wines produced by Ridge and Mt. Eden and dreamed of one day finding land to start their own vineyard. After a two-year search, they found a vineyard site in the coastal northwest corner of the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA.
Dave has a strong connection to farming, having grown up farming with his father in Northern California. He pursued a career in mechanical engineering before transitioning to a vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains, where his skills in ingenuity and problem solving were put to the test.
In December 2008, during the housing market collapse, Dave and Stacey saw an opportunity to buy a property on Mindego Ridge which was suddenly affordable. The property was just a hillside meadow, but they developed it starting in the summer of 2009.
The Mindego Ridge vineyard is located in a unique climate zone where the late season heat spikes in California are moderated by significant daily temperature changes between warm days and cool nights.
The cool climate of Mindego Ridge vineyard is largely influenced by its altitude and marine climate, as it is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west and the San Francisco Bay on the east. This ocean-influenced climate, combined with steep hillsides and rocky soil, results in fruit with intense varietal character and wines that are precise and focused, with crisp acidity, exotic fruit, and unique minerality. Dave sustainably practices dry-farming and has 8.7 acres of Pinot Noir and 1.3 acres of Chardonnay planted on slopes with a 20-35% grade.