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  • Theresa Downs

Ramey Wine Cellars: A New Style of Chardonnay

Part of a Chardonnay blog series


Address: 25 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448

Phone: (707) 433-0870

Appointments are required. Hours: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Tours/Tastings Offered: Ramey Wine Cellars offers one tasting daily at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM for $50.00 per person.

What's Their Story:

David Ramey is a very big deal in the wine industry and with good reason. Dave Ramey started in the wine industry, thinking, "Why not make wine? It makes people happy, it's an aesthetic statement, and not bad for the environment. It was a lightning bolt." So he did; he made very good wine and changed the dynamics of the wine industry, particularly concerning Chardonnay, in California. David Ramey and his wife, Carla, started their winery in 1996.

Ripe fruit, butter, and oak were the hallmarks of California Chardonnay. But by the late 1990s, things were changing in California. After extended stints working with wineries in France and California, Mr. Ramey believed that Burgundy techniques were the way to produce superior wine. In his own words, Mr. Ramey describes his philosophy: "First, wine's supposed to taste delicious! That's it. Now, that said, for us it means working with nature to let nature craft the wine, as opposed to manipulating it from the outside with additives. We want it to taste delicious, but we're purists, we're classicists. So we let nature do that but we monitor the process closely and we intervene a little bit where we need to, if we need to".

So, Mr. Ramsey spent the last years forging a new California winemaking style that leaned towards more natural winemaking methods. Sourcing fruit from some of the best vineyards for Chardonnay grapes: Ritchie Vineyard, Hyde Vineyard, Hudson Vineyard and their own Chardonnay vineyard, Westside Farms, Ramey Wine Cellars makes incomparable Chardonnay wine. He earned the moniker bestowed by Wine Spectator of Professor of California Chardonnay.

Why The Winery Made The Grade: Chardonnay

"You must go to Ramey Wine Cellars." I talk to many industry professionals, particularly when embarking on a new winery guide, in this case, Chardonnay. Practically everyone agreed that a trip to Ramey Wine Cellars was a requirement for a guide about Chardonnay wines.

It is widely recognized that Mr. Ramey revolutionized California Chardonnay. So much so that he earned a declaration in the Congressional Record, becoming a permanent part of American history. He was awarded for his "long-time contributions to the winemaking community, which have shaped the way many wines in the United States are made today." Congressmen Mike Thompson and Jared Huffman presented David with the declaration.

Ramey Wine Cellars Chardonnay wines live up to their reputation; they epitomize elegance.


Ramey Wine Cellars is a working winery; the production part of the winery is first and foremost. While some might find their tasting salon or room sparse, I found it refreshingly (to use a word too often used, but it's correct here) authentic. The curated tours are led by highly knowledgeable and hospitable staff.

Which Winery Visitor Type Would Love It :

Ramey Wine Cellars's tasting salon is as unpretentious and genuine as their approach to wine. Oenophiles and Authenticity Seekers would be in Nirvana; the wine concierges leading the tastings are professional, friendly, and fonts of information. While the tasting salon may not offer the bells and whistles Luxury Seekers may crave, they will be impressed with Ramey Wine Cellars' story and the quality of their wine. Ramey Wine Cellars Chardonnays appeal to wine connoisseurs and collectors.

Read the next blog in the Chardonnay series: Rombauer Vineyards

Or read all of the blogs in our new guide, Chardonnay Wineries of Sonoma and Napa.

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