The Origin of Ritchie Creek Vineyard

Front of the winery


Ritchie Creek Vineyard is located at the top of Spring Mountain in the Napa Valley appellation’s premium Cabernet Sauvignon growing district. We produce just 800 cases of handcrafted estate wines from our small mountain vineyard which was planted in 1967.

At 2000 feet above sea level, our vineyard’s thin rocky soil and cool northern exposure bear low yields of two to three tons of fruit per acre as compared to vineyards in the Napa Valley floor which produce four to six tons per acre. Our low yielding vines produce deeply concentrated wines with intense varietal character which have proven their great aging potential.

Most of the Cabernet Sauvignon vines were planted over 30 years ago using St. George rootstock budded to a shy bearing pre-certification clone of Cabernet Sauvignon. Soon followed by the planting of Merlot, Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Noir, and a small amount of an Austrian varietal, Blaufrankisch. In all, Ritchie Creek Vineyard encompasses 8 acres of vineyard.

Pete on the tractor

Pete Minor purchased the 40 acre property in 1966 at a time when the Napa Valley had less than 30 wineries. He cleared the land and planted the original 4 acre Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vineyard himself in 1967. Pete and his wife, Maggie Minor, established the winery in 1974. Pete built the small winery out of the hillside and named it after Ritchie Creek which starts on the property and flows to the Napa Valley floor. As both the vineyard manager and wine maker, Pete has been able to practice his art without compromise. This ensures that each vintage consistently expresses the unique character of the vineyard site.