The backyard Côte d’Or

Silicon Valley’s technology barons are leading a winemaking renaissance in their backyard. Roger Morris reports

Landscape Vineyard, Santa Cruz
Landscape Vineyard, Santa Cruz

David Amadia ushers a small group of visitors from Ridge Vineyards’ mountaintop tasting room out into the waning afternoon sun, past the signs warning to beware of rattlesnakes and into a picnic area on a precipice overlooking the broad valley. It is a spectacular view.

To the left is San Francisco Bay, spreading south past the international airport and down into the urban sprawl that is San Jose. Straight ahead and miles away, even as the crow flies, are the rugged, forested canyon lands of the Diablo Range. To the right, but out of sight over the intervening hills, are the fertile, produce-centric flatlands around Salinas – Steinbeck Country.

Then Amadia, Ridge’s unassuming president, calls attention to a circular object closer to the foot of the mountains where he is standing, a huge whitish wheel nestled neatly among the network of streets and urban greenery like a flying saucer peacefully landed. “That’s the new Apple headquarters,” he says with a grin as his audience lets out a chorus of “Wows!” and “Reallys?”. “About 18,000 people will work there.”

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