Industry Veteran Returns to the Stags Leap District to Cultivate Wines that Honor Premier Vineyard Appellations
Napa, California; April 15, 2021: Josh Mendoza-Widaman joins Pine Ridge Vineyards’ intrepid winemaking program as Estate Winemaker. Josh brings over 20 years of experience producing 90+ point Napa Valley wines to an already seasoned and passionate Pine Ridge team. Josh will oversee the winery’s estate vineyards, most notably producing elegant and expressive Cabernet Sauvignon, in five premier Napa Valley appellations: Stags Leap District, Howell Mountain, Oakville, Rutherford, and Carneros.
Josh is well suited to continue the highly ambitious winemaking Pine Ridge Vineyards is known for. His experienced, luxury-minded palate has produced 90+ ratings on over 90% of all wines made in his career. Josh most recently spent nine vintages as Winemaker at Lewis Cellars where he led the team that crafted Wine Spectator’s #1 Wine of the Year in 2016. In addition, 70% of all red wines Josh has produced have scored in the top 15% worldwide while 50% of his Chardonnays have been rated in the 94th percentile.
“We’re entering a new phase of the Pine Ridge story with Josh bringing a fresh and highly-esteemed perspective to our winemaking process,” remarks Nicolas Quillé, Master of Wine and Chief Winemaking and Operations Officer for Crimson Wine Group. “Josh will continue our path of discovery and commitment to create wines that honor their remarkable origins, while allowing his experience and perspective to push the quality of Pine Ridge wines into even higher levels of terroir expression.”
Josh’s pursuit of winemaking started after working the 1999 vintage at Stags’ Leap Winery. During his first harvest spreading stems in the vineyards by moonlight, he tasted a 1997 Pahlmeyer Merlot that left him inspired to create wines that leave a similar lasting impression on those lucky enough to experience them. The combination of hands-on vineyard work and the incredible fruits of a winemaker’s labor sealed his desire to enter the wine world. He transferred to UC Davis where he graduated in 2002 with a BS in Viticulture and Enology and a minor in Applied Biological Systems Technology. In 2019 he received his MBA from Sonoma State University to better support a well-rounded understanding of the wine business.
Josh spent the first six years of his career working his way up to Assistant Winemaker at Chimney Rock Winery, located in the Stags Leap District AVA, before transitioning to Assistant Winemaker and eventually Head Winemaker at Pahlmeyer. Additional past experience includes harvest internships with Gloria Ferrer in Sonoma and Viña Tarapacá in Chile. In addition, his time overseas in the Douro, Burgundy, Greece and Germany has also broadened his winemaking perspective and skill.
“My path to winemaking started with a wine that left a lasting impression that I use as inspiration in every wine I create,” Josh emphasizes. “Coming back to the Stags Leap District where it all began for me, and to the iconic steep-walled valley at Pine Ridge Vineyards, gives me a newfound sense of determination to produce some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon wines that Napa Valley and the world have to offer.”
Josh’s first vintage with Pine Ridge Vineyards is already anticipated to be a notable one. He will focus on Pine Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux-style varietals while newly promoted winemaker Colleen FitzGerald leads the Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier program. To learn more, please visit www.pineridgevineyards.com.
About Pine Ridge Vineyards
Pioneers by nature, Gary and Nancy Andrus were determined to defy convention and pursue winemaking on steep slopes rather than the valley floor. In 1978, they established Pine Ridge Vineyards on 50 acres –a steep-walled valley within the Stags Leap District – and began cultivating Cabernet Sauvignon wines with concentrated expressions of the vineyards that created them. Today the winery owns estate vineyards in five premier Napa Valley appellations: Stags Leap District, Howell Mountain, Oakville, Rutherford, and Carneros. In 1995, Pine Ridge yet again forged a new path with the unusual and delectable blend of Chenin Blanc + Viognier, which has since become one of its most beloved and popular wines. To discover or continue your exploration of Pine Ridge Vineyards please visit www.pineridgevineyards.com.