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Wine writer + expert Elaine Chukan Brown speaks with Paul Draper, chairman of the board of Ridge Vineyards. Elaine and Paul discuss how he learned traditional winemaking techniques from Europe, developed those skills working with old vines in South America, and eventually bringing that expertise to California where he helped build one of California’s most renowned wineries.

Featured wines:
1984 Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains

Paul Draper grew up on an eighty-acre farm 50 miles west of Chicago. After attending the Choate School and receiving a degree in philosophy from Stanford University, he lived for two years in northern Italy. He went on to attend the University of Paris and traveled extensively in France. In both Italy and France he sought out and studied traditional winemaking practices. In the mid-sixties, with a close friend, he set up a small winery in the coast range of Chile and produced several vintages of old vine Cabernet Sauvignon. He joined Ridge Vineyards in 1969 and resides atop Monte Bello Ridge with his wife, pianist and author Maureen McCarthy Draper. He is known for the fine Cabernets and Chardonnays of the Monte Bello Estate vineyards, and as a pioneer in the production of long-lived, complex Zinfandel.

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