Ravenswood was founded in 1976 in Sonoma Valley by Joel Peterson. Peterson is a microbiologist by training, but while doing immunology research in San Francisco in the early 1970s he began dabbling in winemaking. Because of his success with Zinfandel, he quickly became known as the godfather of Zinfandel, and single vineyard Zinfandels continue to be the estate’s flagship wines. Ravenswood owns about 15 acres of vineyards but acquires most of its grapes from a network of more than 100 northern California growers. The estate also makes Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and various blends.
Zinfandel is a black-skinned grape, but 85% of the wine produced is made into a rosy “White Zinfandel.” Red Zin is far more complex and bold, while still being light-bodied. It grows in popularity as winemakers continue to experiment with new styles and blends.