A Guide to Northern California Winemaking

At Ram’s Gate Winery, our experienced team of wine professionals takes great pride in our craftsmanship and our contribution to the California wine landscape. With a winemaking history that dates to the early 1700s and our state’s current status as the largest producer of wine in the nation, that is no easy feat. 

With more than 4,500 wineries, California is home to nearly half the wineries in the U.S., and by far the most in any state.  

Does that mean we are all making wine the same way? Nah. Each vineyard has its own philosophy, unique winemaking processes, and provides different experiences for its guests. 

Our approach is also unique, and very simple. We believe Northern California winemaking starts with the land. And we care for ours using sustainable practices that reflect our true love of each rich nutrient of our acreage. 

To follow is a quick guide on how we make wine that gives back naturally.  

California’s Sensational Geography, Land & Climate

Our Northern California winemaking involves several incredible components—before a single grape is cultivated. 

California’s geography lends itself to nearly 140 different American Viticultural Areas, or AVAs, which are designated wine grape growing regions. The land within these regions is designed to nurture different types of grapes, for different types of wine. 

Next, the terroir, or environmental factors that affect the crop, plays a large role in what type of grapes and wines each vineyard can produce. 

In general, California is sunny and warm, but distinct differences create grape diversity, including the amount of sun, fog, cool and warmth that is dictated by their location, guiding winemakers to produce the best fruit that will flourish under their unique circumstances. 

The Beautiful Fruit of Our Labor

There are over one hundred different grape varieties cultivated in California—and certainly more to come. 

While Chardonnay is the most popular California wine variety, Cabernet Sauvignon is not far behind. 

Last year, nearly 4,300 thousand tons of wine grapes were harvested in California—the majority of which were red, weighing in at approximately 2,500 thousand tons, and white grapes accounting for 1,800 thousand tons. 

Ram’s Gate Pledge to Sustainable Winemaking 

At Ram’s Gate, our Sonoma winery takes a holistic approach to winemaking, involving an active and tireless pursuit of driving personality out of the ground year after year, because we believe that winemaking begins in the vineyard—not the cellar. 

We take the time to understand the soil of each site, and closely monitor the growing conditions of each vine, so they can thrive happily—not under duress. 

We take great care to be present throughout each growing season, which allows our winemakers to become intimately aware of each vineyard’s unique characteristics and helps define each vintage poignantly.  

Stewardship of the land and thoughtful care in the cellar places the integrity of our vineyard first, so our California wine signature collections provide a sincere winetasting experience for all. 

For those who want to become winemakers themselves, there is no better place to obtain an education than in California Wine Country. 

At Ram’s Gate Winery, we provide hands-on experiences that educate and empower both burgeoning and veteran wine enthusiasts to make the most of their winemaking—and tasting!—experiences. 

Learn more about our exciting wine collections by reserving a wine tasting experience, or through one of our informative virtual encounters, join our wine club, or order online for delivery or curbside pickup today.