I had the pleasure recently of joining the sommeliers of Redd, La Folie, and Boulevard, writers including Deborah Parker Wong of The Tasting Panel and Randy Caparoso of Sommelier Journal, and founders of a wine start-up, Block 122, at Lookout Ridge Winery, nestled atop the Mayacamas Mountains, for a sunset wine tasting. After twisting and turning up the mountain and driving on unpaved, rocky roads, I was yearning for the four-wheel drive SUV I used while working on vineyard mapping for Oz Clarke’s Wine Atlas. From this perch on the Sonoma side of Mount Veeder, currently within the Sonoma Valley AVA but soon to be within the new Moon Mountain appellation, you could see a thick fog bank all the way down to the Golden Gate gap, and to the north and east, a sunnier, greener view including the gorgeous Sugarloaf Ridge one hillside away.
Lookout Ridge is not your ordinary winery. It is the vision of Gordon Holmes and his family, a philanthropic endeavor to provide wheelchairs for children, teens, and adults in need around the world. Gordon works with highly recognized winemakers including Marco di Giulio, previously of Lokoya, Andy Erickson, previously of Screaming Eagle and currently with Favia, Ovid, Arietta and Dancing Hares, Greg LaFollette, founding winemaker at Flowers and Hartford Court, now with La Follette Wines, Cathy Corison of Corison Wines, Ehren Jordan of Turley and Failla, Richard Arrowood of Arrowood and Amapola Creek, Brian Maloney of Deloach, Drew Neiman of Neiman Cellars, Aaron Pott, formerly of Quintessa and now with Huis Clos Wines, and Gerhard Reisacher of Delectus. All vineyards are managed by Phil Coturri. Wines are $100 to $125 per bottle for library wines. One wheelchair is donated for every bottle of library wine sold. In December 2009, Gordon and Marco delivered 300 wheelchairs to Belize. In total, Holmes states they have changed the lives of 10,000 people so far.