Whether it be a wedding reception or watching a beautiful afternoon sunset, Paradise Ridge Winery has been at the heart and soul of Sonoma County since 1978 when Walter Byck and Marijke Byck-Hoenselaars founded the winery. The property spans 155 acres with beautiful scenic views overlooking the Russian River Valley.
“We have been growing grapes for 42 years— and holding weddings, private events, and tasting guests for 26 years. I remember selling wine and telling the story of when we first opened and now it has been 26 years. A lot has happened,” said Rene Byck, Paradise Ridge Winery co-owner, and son of the founders Walter and Marijke.
Several unfortunate events over the last two decades would serve as a rallying cry to bring the family closer together. In 2006, the spiritual leader of the family, Marijke, passed away. This was a tremendous loss but would serve as a shining light for the family to keep going. “We took the things she championed like supporting the Homeless cause, supporting nonprofits, giving back to the community, and continued to support as well as grow this giving back thought through today,” noted Byck.
Also, another event that would reshape not only the winery but the entire region was the Tubbs Fire in October of 2017 which would end up destroying the tasting room/event space, the winemaking production facility, and three houses on the property were all destroyed.
“The rebuild has been a long and grinding process. We are happy with the results -the building and views are more amazing than before,” said Byck, “I feel the community came together and now we are stronger. Being a part of and giving back to the community is something that we strive for and are proud of.”
Producing approximately 10,000 cases annually, Paradise Ridge Winery produces everything from pinot noir to zinfandel to a sparkling blanc de blanc. In particular with the Walter’s Vineyard Pinot Noir, Winemaker Dan Barwick creates a blend from the 777 clone, which creates this beautifully dark and rich wine without being overpowering. “The wines reflect a bit of the old world as the wines are what he refers to as social wines to be enjoyed with bites, friends and crafted to age,” said Jennifer Tusa, hospitality manager at Paradise Ridge Winery.
The focus of the winery is now on trying to create unique and custom guest experiences that include family-friendly types of events as well as meat and cheese pairings while navigating the constraints being placed on them by COVID-19. Hopefully soon, Paradise Ridge Winery can get back to bringing more couples together as they continue hosting weddings and utilizing its sculpture garden with its illustrious LOVE sign.
“Now with COVID-19 we’re planning a bit more with adding software to assist with our experience appointments to not only our staff but our overall guest experiences to feel comfortable with distances and cleanliness,” said Tusa, “We’ve gone through all the guidelines to make it a comfortable environment for all.” Paradise Ridge Winery is stronger than yesterday and ready to adapt to the challenges of today as well as the potential opportunities of tomorrow.
Wine Routes Software: Digital Wine Tasting Menus
Paradise Ridge Winery will be utilizing Wine Routes digital tasting menus to help personalize and customize the guest experience as this will help the tasting room staff cut back on single-serve menus as further guidelines and mandates are established regarding COVID-19. The digital tasting menus are a fun and unique way to engage with the consumer while providing a safe and sanitary alternative for the consumer to interact, review, and purchase the wines they experience.
Wine Routes is a National Winery Trip Planner that helps travelers plan, customize, and be routed to wineries based on specific criteria entered by the traveler. Once on the platform, they can find friends, see what they are drinking, and share everything they love about wine back to their own profile on the Wine Routes site.
2017 Pinot Noir, Walter’s Vineyard- lush and velvety garnet red in color. Flavors of dark cherry, raspberry with a hint of watermelon, and just a little bit of spice on the finish. At 13.6% ABV, this wine shows a decent amount of fruit but maintains great balance from start to finish and would pair nicely with a rib roast.
2015 Zinfandel “The Convict” – A ruby red—almost slight purple in color. Subtle hints of currant on the nose. Black pepper, spices with just a little bit of dark chocolate round out the palate. A blend of 80% Zinfandel and 20% Petite Sirah, and coming in at 14.2% ABV, this wine would complement a hamburger or tri-tip straight off the grill.
Sourced from the Branham Vineyard, one of the first planted vineyards of Zinfandel in the Rockpile AVA of Sonoma, this wine is named for the labor used by Tennessee Carter Bishop, who carved out a road in the vineyard property back in the 1870’s.
2016 Chardonnay “Nagasawa” – Floral aromatics on the nose. Apple, pear, and banana flavors touch down the mid-palate with a crisp finish. At 13.4% ABV, this is your classic Russian River Chardonnay showing a decent amount of acid and just a really clean wine with a silky texture.
This wine is a 50/50 blend from the estate-grown Nagasawa Vineyard and the Peters Vineyard, situated in a slightly cooler climate of Sebastopol in Sonoma County. Drink it now or hold it back for another 5-10 years.
2018 Rosé “Brides Blush” – beautiful translucent color with a little bit of orange and a light touch of pink. A citrus bouquet of aromatics on the nose with flavors of grapefruit, orange, and a little pomegranate on the palate. At 13.5% ABV, this wedding wine shows a decent amount of acidity and would showcase as a great opener to a summer barbecue.
This wine is a blend of high-quality grapes sourced from the Russian River Valley.