Wine grapes have been grown in Mendocino since the 1850s, when fortune-seeking Italian immigrants began planting cultivars and making bold, hearty reds like those from their homeland. Today, Mendocino boasts a dozen distinctive American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), over 100 wineries and 17,000 acres of vines.
Mendocino’s broad range of microclimates and soil types enable us to cultivate a wide range of varieties. Warm inland valleys provide ideal growing conditions for varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, while Mendocino’s coastal districts specialize in cool-climate varietals like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
La Ribera is a 1.5-mile long property situated on the eastern banks of the Russian River in the southern Ukiah Valley. One hundred and fifty acres are planted in vines, with the original plantings dating to the early 1950s. The river and its abundant riparian zone exert a cooling influence that tempers summer heat and helps retain acidity and freshness in the grapes.
“La Ribera is a special site and we farm it with a high degree of environmental consciousness,” Tim Thornhill says. The certified Fish-Friendly property includes protected wildlife habitats as well as an innovative drip irrigation system customized to each soil type on the property.
Attention to the needs of each vine results in more concentrated and expressive fruit, and La Ribera’s diversity of soil types allows us to precisely match an array of varietals—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Syrah—with their ideal soil profile. The result is high-quality wines boasting intense varietal character.