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.
Next in our lineup of vine-growing experts is 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.
Son of a Sonoma wine-growing pioneer, Vineyard Manager Ned Hill began learning the art and science of vineyard management as soon as he could stand on his own two feet. As a young kid, he loved to ride around in the 4-wheeler, bringing water to the crew and pulling leaves out of the large gondolas. During harvest time, he’d walk behind the picking crew and collect any ripe clusters that had been left behind. By age 15, he was exceedingly capable in nearly every aspect of the field and knew he wanted to make vineyard management his life’s work.
In 2008 at age 32, already with decades experience ahead of his time and an unrelenting work ethic, Ned and his wife began the La Prenda Vineyards Management Company, seeking to provide full-service vineyard management and consulting to high-end winegrowers.
Ned Hill has taken care of Ram’s Gate Winery’s estate vineyards since the winery’s inception. The twenty-eight planted acres surrounding the winery supply grapes for the small lot Estate Pinot Noir, Sparkling Brut and future Grenache, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and more. Situated above miles of marshland on a Southern Carneros hillside, Ram’s Gate’s estate vineyards benefit from a long, cool growing season. The constant Bay influence keeps the climate temperate at all times of day and year, allowing the grapes to develop gradually to full maturity with enviable complexity and depth.
This fortunate fruit is made even more so under the expert eye and indefatigable care of Ned Hill, who knows exactly what’s going on in the vineyard at any given moment and is a veritable vine whisperer, brimming with explanations, ideas and solutions at every turn. Ned and Winemaker Jeff Gaffner work closely together to grow the most balanced and delicious fruit possible for Ram’s Gate Winery’s estate collection. The synergy of complementary forces is palpable.