Did you know that Ram’s Gate Winery sources grapes from over nine of the most esteemed grape growers in Sonoma County? Most of these grapes are kept separate from each other throughout the winemaking process from vine to bottle, resulting in individual vineyard-designate bottlings with the integrity of each vineyard site preserved in each wine. Over the next few months, we invite you to join us here for a behind the vines introduction to our devoted growers, without whom we would not be able to craft each uniquely luscious wine.
First up: meet Steve Hill, the man who created the Durell Vineyard thirty years ago and now manages his own parcel, which he calls Parmelee-Hill
Steve Hill had no experience in agriculture when his lifelong family friend Ed Durell called and invited him to manage and develop the 500 acres of virgin wilderness Ed had just purchased in Sonoma County. The year was 1979. Thirty some years later, Steve Hill has turned “Durell Vineyards” into a wine connoisseur’s household name. “Parmelee-Hill Vineyards” represents the 52 acres of grapevine-covered Sonoma Coast hills that Steve purchased from Ed Durell in 1994 and planted to grapevine shortly thereafter.
The Parmelee-Hill Vineyard, from which Ram’s Gate Winery creates a vineyard-designate Syrah, produces what is widely considered some of the best Syrah in the county. Situated on the protected side of a hill, which serves as a buffer to the coastal winds and allows the fruit to mature fully and slowly, Parmelee-Hill Vineyard Syrah is crafted into premium quality wine for a handful of reputable wineries. Among them are excellent producers such as Patz & Hall, Orin Swift’s The Prisoner and Saxon Brown in addition to Ram’s Gate Winery. Steve’s goal has always been to grow nothing short of luxury grapes for luxury wine.
“I want to grow a product that’s so good, even in the toughest times the demand is high.” His dedication to these vines is palpable. “Some people ask me why I insist on working 6 or 7-day weeks,” he explains. “A Friday to a Monday is an eternity in the vineyard.” He prides himself on knowing at any given moment what’s going on out in his vines and is proud to work hard for what many consider to be unparalleled Syrah in Sonoma County. And Ram’s Gate Winery is certainly proud to craft wine from his beautiful fruit.
Next up: Ned Hill, Founder and Director of La Prenda Vineyards Management and son of Durell Vineyard’s Steve Hill. Ned Hill manages Ram’s Gate Winery’s Estate Vineyards, which surround the winery and tasting hall…check back soon!