This industry veteran returns to the Deer Leap District to grow the wines that are titled Premier Vineyard.
Napa, CA; 15. April 2021: Josh Mendoza-Vidaman joins Pine Ridge Vineyards’ intrepid winemaking program as Estate Winemaker. Josh adds over 20 years of winemaking experience with over 90 points in Napa Valley to the already experienced and passionate Pine Ridge team. Josh will oversee the winery’s vineyards, which primarily produce elegant and expressive Cabernet Sauvignon in five premier appellations in Napa Valley: Deer Jump District, Howell Mountain, Oakville, Rutherford and Carneros.
Josh is ideally suited to continue the highly ambitious winemaking that Pine Ridge Vineyards is known for. His experienced and luxurious palate has resulted in 90+ scores on over 90% of all wines produced during his career. Most recently, Josh was a winemaker for nine years at Lewis Cellars, where he led the team that created Wine Spectator’s #1 Wine of the Year in 2016. In addition, 70% of all Josh’s reds were in the top 15% of the world, while 50% of his Chardonnays were in the 94th percentile.
We are entering a new phase in the history of Pine Ridge. Josh brings a fresh and much appreciated perspective to our winemaking process, notes Nicolas Quillet, Master of Wine and Director of Production and Operations for Crimson Wine Group. Josh will continue our journey of discovery and dedication to creating wines that honor their remarkable provenance, while bringing his experience and perspective to take the quality of Pine Ridge wines to an even higher level of terroir expression.
Josh began making wine after working at Leap Winery in Stags during the 1999 vintage. During his first harvest, as he was scattering stems in the vineyard by moonlight, he tasted the 1997 Pahlmeyer Merlot, which inspired him to make wines that leave the same lasting impression on those lucky enough to discover them. The combination of the handiwork in the vineyards and the incredible fruits of the winemaker’s labor sealed his desire to enter the world of wine. He attended the University of California at Davis, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in viticulture and enology and a master’s degree in applied biosystems engineering in 2002. He earned an MBA from Sonoma State University in 2019 to gain an in-depth knowledge of the wine industry.
Josh spent the first six years of his career as assistant winemaker at Chimney Rock Winery, located in the Stags Leap District AVA, before becoming assistant winemaker and eventually head winemaker at Pahlmeyer. He has also done harvest internships at Gloria Ferrer in Sonoma and Viña Tarapaca in Chile. In addition, spending time abroad in the Douro, Burgundy, Greece and Germany has broadened his vision and skills in winemaking.
My journey in winemaking began with a wine that left an indelible impression on me, and I draw inspiration from it in all the wines I make, says Josh. Returning to the Deer Leap area, where it all began for me, and to the famous Steep Valley in Pine Ridge vineyards, gives me a new sense of determination to make some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon wines Napa Valley and the world have to offer.
Josh’s first vintage with Pine Ridge Vineyards is expected. He will focus on Pine Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux-style grapes, while newly promoted winemaker Colin Fitzgerald will lead the Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier program. For more information, please visit www.pineridgevineyards.com.
About Pine Ridge Vineyards.
Gary and Nancy Andrus, pioneers by nature, were determined to defy convention and grow grapes on steep slopes rather than in the valleys. In 1978, they founded Pine Ridge Vineyards on 50 acres – a steep valley in the Deer Leap region – and began producing Cabernet Sauvignon wines with the concentrated expression of the vineyards that produced them. Today, the winery owns vineyards in five top appellations in Napa Valley: Deer Jump District, Howell Mountain, Oakville, Rutherford and Carneros. In 1995, Pine Ridge broke new ground again with its unusual and delicious blend of Chenin Blanc + Viognier, which has since become one of its most popular and well-known wines. For more information about Pine Ridge Vineyards, visit www.pineridgevineyards.com.