Greenwood Ridge Vineyards
Summary: Greenwood Ridge Vineyards has a conveniently located tasting room on Highway 128 in Philo. Wine travelers can taste wines and learn about green initiatives, baseball, dragons and the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright.
What do baseball, dragons and wine have in common? The Greenwood Ridge Vineyards tasting room is home of the World Champion Greenwood Ridge Dragons, a 50 and older baseball team. The team players take baseball as seriously as winemakers take winemaking. Allan Green, owner and winemaker at Greenwood Ridge Vineyards, is the team’s center fielder. Tom Rodrigues, owner and winemaker at Maple Creek Winery, also plays on the team. This team is as good as the wines these winemakers craft. The team won the M.S.B.L. World Series in 2007 and 2008. In 2009 they won the national championship. The team is made up of players from Mendocino County and Sonoma County and includes three former major league players.
The dragon figure plays prominently in the winery’s design for their wine labels and website. Aaron Green, Allan’s father, was an architect whose ofice was also the West Coast office of Frank Lloyd Wright. Allan’s father gave an original dragon sculpture to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation in 1959. It is currently on display at Taliesin West, The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s international headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Aaron Green designed the octagonal tasting room. All of the redwood used to build the tasting room came from a single 400-year old redwood tree that fell on the winery property during a storm. The tree’s diameter measured almost 13 feet. Light infuses the tasting room making it easy to observe the colors of the wines in a glass. The location of the tasting room on Highway 128 places it between other winery and vineyard tasting rooms making it easy for wine enthusiasts to visit.
The winery and vineyard are located in Philo about nine miles from the tasting room. The vineyard has plantings of Riesling, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The winery produces about 3,000 cases of wine.
All of the electrical requirements of the tasting room are supplied from solar panels. The panels generate more electricity than required. Excess electricity goes into the PG & E grid. Solar panels are also used to supply all the electrical requirements at the winery. The winery, celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2010, follows the fish friendly farming practices that eliminates or reduces erosion, pesticide run-off and habitat deterioration. Biodiesel fuel is used to run vineyard equipment.
Visitors to the tasting room will quickly notice a display of wine cans. Allan Green originally collected beer cans. However, someone gave him a wine can and it started a new hobby for him. He is now the proud owner of 400 wine cans, the largest collection of wine cans known to exist. In retrospect Allan believes he is the only collector specifically of wine cans. While most of the wine cans are at his home, he has many displayed in the winery tasting room. The wine cans are from around the world and include cans from France, England, Japan as well as the United States. Some of the brands include Hock, Stowells and St. Michael.
On the day of our visit we tasted several wines. The 2008 Sauvignon Blanc had a citrus and mineral aroma and taste. It had a crisp finish. The 2007 White Riesling was made from estate grapes. It had a mineral and citrus aroma. The citrus taste had peach nuances. The slightly sweet wine had a crisp finish. The 2006 Late Harvest Riesling had 18% residual sugar. This dessert wine offered a honeysuckle aroma and honey taste.
The 2007 Pinot Noir was a reddish-orange color. It offered a red berry aroma and taste. There were tannins and fruit on the finish. The 2006 Merlot was crafted with estate-grown grapes. The red cherry aroma and taste finished with bold tannins. The cherry aftertaste yielded to chocolate.
The Greenwood Ridge Vineyards tasting room is an ideal place to visit. Stroll through the beautiful landscaped grounds and enjoy a picnic lunch on a colorful island.
Greenwood Ridge Vineyards
5501 Highway 128
Philo California 95466
GPS: N39º 05.839’ W123º 29.079’
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