Sea Ridge Winery

Owner(s) Tim Schmidt, Dan Wickham
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Marine biologists Tim Schmidt and Dan Wickham acquired a remote 40-acre ridge top property, part of the Seaview Ranch, 3 miles inland as the crow flies from Fort Ross and twelve miles west of the town of Cazadero in 1979. The site was 1,100 feet above sea level above the fog line.

The partners built a 3,000-square-foot winery and bonded it in 1980 for 5,000 cases. Initially they produced "Sonoma County" Pinot Noir from fruit purchased from neighbor Michael Bohan. Their 1981 Sea Ridge Bohan Vineyard Sonoma County Pinot Noir won a Gold Medal at the 1984 Sonoma County Harvest Fair.

Their Pinot Noirs produced at their rudimentary winery in the early 1980s brought attention to the region and Jerry D. Mead said, "Sea Ridge Winery.... is only the vanguard for what I predict will become the most important new appellation for producing burgundian grape varieties in the United States. Now, 30 years later, Mead's proclamation has come true.

At some point in the 1980s, a Pinot Noir vineyard was planted on the Sea Ridge property and named Seaview Vineyard. The cuttings came from Summa Vineyard located west of Occidental. Reportedly, the many challenges encountered with winegrowing in this remote region led to a failed attempt and it is not clear whether any grapes were ever harvested from that vineyard.

In 1988, the partners had a falling out over differing philosophies and Wickham bought out Schmidt. Wickham acquired a new partner and leased a historic winery facility in Occidental. After 15 years, the winery was abandoned due to financial problems and other commitments. The Sea Ridge Winery label was picked up by Bronco Wine Co. and that winery produces a line of California appellation varietals (no Pinot Noir) under the Sea Ridge Winery name.

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