Pride Mountain Vineyards ᛡ It’s not for nothing that Pride Mountain’s estate ranch was previously known as Summit Ranch. It’s a twisting, twenty minute drive west from St. Helena to this 235 acre estate, dramatically perched on the crest of the Mayacamas mountains, on Spring Mountain. It straddles the Napa/ Sonoma county line (which passes straight through the winery), and means that, unusually, many of Pride Mountain’s labels show both counties. Jim and Carolyn Pride found Summit Ranch in 1989 and bought it as a kind of retirement project. What was originally the Summit Winery had been established in 1890, but fire destroyed most of it during Prohibition, and it was left in ruins for decades. Having been adopted as the local rubbish dump, the ranch needed serious work, and it became clear that the project was altogether bigger than the Prides had anticipated. They drilled wells, planted vineyards, hired staff, built a winery, dug cellars, paved roads and built barns, and as the property grew, so did their reputation. In 2004, Jim passed away and their children took over the reins: by now the “retirement” project had become a widely admired producer of Bordeaux varietals in particular. The vineyards mainly face south, and at 2,100ft above the floor of the Napa Valley, lie above the fog-line. What makes Pride’s wines and winery distinct is the location of their eighty-five vineyard acres. The vines receive roughly 27% more ultraviolet light compared to vines on the valley floors. More light results in tannin and phenolic anti-oxidant levels in the red grapes at levels roughly 25% higher than in the surrounding valleys; this is the main contributor to the broad-shouldered “mountain character” that they possess. Although they receive a lot more sunshine, they are also on average about 10% cooler than in Rutherford on the floor of the Napa Valley. So although they produce boldly-structured and boldly-flavoured reds, they are able to maintain well-balanced acidity levels and varietal character through to harvest. The volcanic loam soils are rich in clay and receive a lot of winter rain, roughly double that of the surrounding valleys. Winemaker Sally Johnson works with Steve Pride to bring out the distinct character of the estate in the wines: red wines with fruit characters that are on the black-fruit side of the ripeness spectrum while still loaded with varietal character and fresh acidity, and white wines which retain lively acidity, combined with mid-palate richness, all with intensity, concentration, deliciousness, and their own very decided individual style.