Readers’ Choice 2019: California Winery


Covenant Wines


(510) 559-9045  •

Calling itself “the only urban kosher winery operating in America since Prohibition,” Covenant Wines moved from Napa Valley to a 7,000-square-foot warehouse in Berkeley in 2014, producing red, white and pink wines that are kosher for Passover and under the supervision of the Orthodox Union.

Hagafen Cellars


(888) 424-2336  •

Hagafen Cellars, a perennial readers’ choice founded in 1979, produces gold medal-winning Napa Valley varietals that are kosher for Passover and year-round. Owner Ernie Weir is involved in both sides of wine production: grape growing and winemaking. Tasting room is open to the public; tours are by appointment.

Ridge Vineyards: Lytton Springs and Monte Bello


(408) 867-3222  •

Ridge Vineyards date to 1885, when Osea Perrone purchased 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge. In 1991, Lytton Springs, in Sonoma County, became part of the Ridge estate. Most of the winery’s production is cabernet and zinfandel, with syrah, grenache, carignane, and petite sirah making up a small percentage. Known primarily for its red wines, Ridge has also produced limited amounts of chardonnay since 1962. The approach is straightforward by today’s wine-making norm: find intense, flavorful grapes; intrude upon the process only when necessary; draw the fruit’s distinctive character and richness into the wine.

Eric Ross


707-939-8525  •

Eric Ross uses crafts wines from several vineyards located in Russian River, Dry Creek, Lodi and the Carneros. A varied selection of wines is produced, including unique varietals of albarino, viognier, pinot noir, grenache, tempranillo, old vine zinfandel and cabernet from the Mayacamas Mountains. The winemaker loves the area’s terroir: “The long, cool growing season, just above the fog line, keeps the vines temperate, yet there’s plenty of sun to ripen. The cool-down at night prevents acids in the skins from dissipating, resulting in wines of great flavor and structure.” The winery’s delicious varietals can be tasted at leisure in the relaxed, unrushed tasting room.

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