Wine for the Event Provided By
PHILO RIDGE VINEYARDS
Welcome to Philo Ridge Vineyards! We
are situated 5.33 miles up a dirt road from the floor of the Anderson
Valley. This is where Fred R. Buonanno and Heather A. McKelvey decided
to plant our roots, so to speak, and begin our venture into the wine
We had looked at properties
for over four years, until one Sunday evening, we looked in the Sunday
classified section of the San Francisco Chronicle. There, under the
heading of Farms and Ranches, was a five line ad for a For Sale By
Owner. It described a 50+ acre property with a vineyard and room to
plant more. We called that evening and made arrangements to meet the
next Saturday. After looking around the property for about an hour, we
made an offer on the most beautiful piece of property we had seen in our
four years of searching. We took possession of the property in August
There were already three acres of Cabernet
Sauvignon and Merlot planted just below the house. The vineyard was
planted in 1976 by the original owner of the property, Vernon Rose of
Christine Woods Winery. The property was their original winery as well.
There were an additional seven acres of plantable terraced land just
yards from the original vineyard.
We suddenly found ourselves in
the wine business. It was quite thrilling and equally terrifying.
Neither of us had ever actually farmed. We had read a great deal and we
were well schooled in the wine aspect of the business, but we were
lacking in that get-your-hands-in-the-dirt, practical experience. One of
the first things we did was ask Norman Kobler to be our vineyard
manager. Norman has many years of hands-on knowledge about almost
everything to do with putting something in the ground, watching it grow,
and making wine. Norman planned and supervised the installation of our
Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris vineyards in 2000 and has worked hard to
continue our education.
We decided to become a bonded winery in
2001 and we released our first vintage in January of 2004: 167 cases of
2001 Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. We were very pleased when our first
submission – our 2001 Syrah – won a Silver medal in the San Francisco
Chronicle competition. Since that time, we have entered a number of
competitions with our wines and have done very well, including 90 points
and Editor's Choice for the 2006 Pinot Noir in the July 2010 Wine
Enthusiast. We also received Editor's Choice for the Gewurztraminer and
Pinot Gris in the same edition. Our production is now up to 2200 cases
and we continue to ratchet up our production. But we still make each
wine by hand in small batches of between 90 to 450 cases each. Our goal
is to make great wines that have complexity and exemplify the best their
varietals have to offer your palate.
Pinot Noir is our primary
wine, but we have added Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Viognier to the
mix for white wines and Zinfandel, Vino di Mendocino, and Coro Mendocino
in the reds.
Stay tuned, as our journey continues.
- Fred and Heather