79 year-old Paul Draper, CEO and winemaker at Ridge Vineyards in the hills above Santa Clara Valley, California, is one of America’s most legendary wine producers. Known as the savior of Zinfandel, Draper was seminal in reviving and positioning old-vine Zin as a premier world-class California varietal.
And it was Draper’s 1971 Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon that won worldwide acclaim at Stephen Spurrier’s 1976 Judgment of Paris wine competition. Draper, a graduate of Stanford University in philosophy, continues to nurture his philosophic approach to life through his Old World approach to winemaking. His methods are so traditional that he refuses the title of winemaker and prefers to call himself a wine grower. Draper says the term maker infers someone who’s in the role of creator—someone who manipulates and adds ingredients. Draper’s approach includes relying on native yeast fermentation as an essential ingredient in crafting fine wine.
Come along and join correspondent, Tom Wilmer for a visit with Paul Draper at Ridge Vineyards as he recalls the winery’s history that dates from the 1880s, and his incredible life journey that led him along a synchronistic path around the world. Draper’s odyssey ultimately led him to his low-tech wine-crafting career that commenced at Ridge Vineyards in 1969.
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