Grower Series Part 5: Larry Hyde and the Hyde Vineyard

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.

Larry Hyde, Hyde Vineyard
Larry Hyde, Hyde Vineyard

Larry Hyde and his family have been at the cutting edge of winegrowing practices for decades. You might not guess if you met Larry, who carries himself with a patient kindness and utter absence of ego, that he’s been such a significant contributor to Californian viticulture’s body of knowledge. He alone has uncovered a wealth of information on clone selections, clone isolations and growing orientations, “just by doing experiments in the vineyard,” he says. Ram’s Gate Winemaker Jeff Gaffner explains, “Larry Hyde does an extremely good job of understanding his unique site, both what marries well with its specific terroir and how things perform in it.”

The Hyde Vineyard itself is a gem as well. Larry purchased and began planting the vineyard property in 1979 after gaining as much winegrowing experience as he could through most every vineyard position since his start in the industry in 1969. He chose the Carneros property for its exposition (the slope of the vineyard) and quickly learned that it was a premium site for a number of other reasons as well.


The entire vineyard slopes down to the south east, absorbing all the gentler morning sun and avoiding the late afternoon’s risk of burn. The nearby San Pablo Bay’s marine influence keeps the area’s temperature moderate through the winter, which means an earlier bud break with little threat of frost. Situated at the top of the San Pablo Bay, the vines sustain steady winds drawn inland from the bay, which, combined with an earlier bud break, means a delightfully long and gradual ripening period for the grapes.

Thirty three years later, Larry Hyde, his wife and their two sons have full ownership of the vineyard (acquired from Larry’s father and siblings) and work together every day to maintain and improve their now 200 acres of plantings. “I am extremely grateful to be able to create vineyard designate Chardonnays out of Larry Hyde’s fruit for Ram’s Gate Winery,” Gaffner said. And the rest of us at Ram’s Gate Winery are grateful he can, too!

Our small-production Hyde Chardonnay is typically a Members-only wine, so make sure to sign up to secure your allocation – and don’t hesitate to contact us at or 707.721.8700 for any thoughts or questions. Cheers!

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