A Home Run in Mendocino

Greenwood Ridge Vineyards
Philo, California

The breathtaking coastal Mendocino County ridge top where Greenwood Ridge Vineyards grows its grapes is normally a quiet, pristine spot. Set apart from its amiable tasting room, conveniently located on Highway 128, one can practically hear the White Riesling, Merlot, and Pinot Noir ripen in the vineyards.

Owner Allan Green is proud of his winery's reputation for producing world-class wines in small lots, which have received plenty of praise and awards at major wine competitions. But Allan likes to focus on the fun, unique things they do to make a visit to Greenwood Ridge Vineyards' tasting room particularly memorable.

"We've always thought that our unique wines should have a similarly unique location for tasting," Allan explains. Allan's father, Aaron G. Green, who was a San Francisco architect and associate of Frank Lloyd Wright for many years, designed the octagonal tasting room. A single 400-year-old redwood tree provided all of the wood required to build it. For the past three years, it has run completely on solar power. The tasting room also features an intriguing display of 100 wine cans--just one-quarter of the wine cans Allan has collected. He believes his wine-can collection is the world's largest. Greenwood Ridge is also the site of the annual California Wine Tasting Championships, a brainchild of Allan's that invites wine tasters of all levels of proficiency to compete in wine identification. Held each July, it's the only event of its kind in the country.

Another fun fact about Greenwood Ridge Vineyards is that they have a baseball team. The Greenwood Ridge Dragons are actually 2007 and 2008 world champions in the "50 years and over" division of the Men's Senior Baseball League--a title they won at the Men's Senior Baseball League World Series in Phoenix, Arizona. The team, founded in 2001 by Allan, has played in the major league stadiums belonging to the Giants, A's, and Padres.

When it comes to making wine and making fun, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards keeps hitting them out of the park.

What to Buy:
'06 Late Harvest Riesling Great acidity. Fresh, sweet balance of apricot, pineapple, and honey flavors $30
'06 Merlot Lush, ripe plum, cherry, black currant. Blackberry, dark chocolate, cedar $27
'07 Pinot Noir Full-bodied, zesty. Intense raspberry, plum, light oakiness. Crisp, long finish $30
'07 White Riesling Apple, peach, spice. Excellent acidity to balance 1.8% residual sugar $18
'07 Sauvignon Blanc Sweet grass, green peach, honey, vanilla, citrus $18

Contact:
707.895.2002; Fax: 707.895.2001
www.greenwoodridge.com
5501 Hwy 128
Philo, CA 95466
Tasting Room Open Daily 10-5

Getting There:
The tasting room is located on Hwy 128 about four miles northwest of the town of Philo.

 

This story originally appeared on Touring and Tasting