“We grow incredible mountain fruit at a great value for our customers.
You can’t find this level of quality at an everyday drinking price.”
Owner and visionary leader of Shannon Ridge Family of Wines, Clay Shannon has transformed his ranch into one of the agricultural icons of California’s North Coast, and in doing so is changing the face and substance of grape-growing in the USA.
Clay grew up on a farm in Healdsburg in Sonoma County. He began his career as a vineyard manager in St. Helena, traveling the wine regions of California managing the company’s vineyards. A short time later he started his own vineyard management company, growing grapes for some of the top wineries and fruit companies in Northern California.
In 1995, Clay discovered a magnificent piece of property in the hills overlooking Clear Lake in Lake County, thirty-five miles north of Napa’s famed vineyards. He quickly set out to develop vineyards, Clay’s vision was simple: “We wanted to grow the best fruit in the world,” says Clay, “but we wanted to do it in a way that made us happy living there.”
“Sustainability wasn’t some philosophical concept; it is the way we live our lives.”
Perched on ridges of lean volcanic soils at altitudes of 2,100 to 2,400 feet above sea level, this wild land is cooled by steady winds off Clear Lake and from the higher peaks just to the north. There is also stunning beauty: to the south, the deep blue waters of Clear Lake sheltered by Mount Konocti; to the north, snow-capped mountains loom above. We call this “Home Ranch”.
“The landscape is rugged and wild,” says Clay, “and so are our neighbors – we’re surrounded by wildlife. We’ve got ducks, geese, deer, raccoons, quail, golden eagles, bald eagles, wild turkey, chipmunks and bobcats that visit us regularly. We are also visited commonly by bears, mountain lions and elk.”
We continue our dedication to creating a family of wines that consumers love at top-quality and affordable prices. We are passionate about preserving our land, not only for great vineyard sites, but for the wild creatures which share our property. Our sustainability practices integrate a flock of sheep that clean the vineyards, remove the excess canopy, and reduce the need for chemicals, while providing natural fertilizer.
“WE PLANT IT. WE GROW IT. WE PICK IT. WE MAKE IT. WE OWN IT.”
Following years of vineyard management experience, Clay Shannon established SHANNON RANCHES vineyard management company in 1993. On a rainy winter day in 1995, Clay made a visit to Lake County to explore potential vineyard land. Reaching the top of the property at elevations up to 2,500 feet, unable to see through the clouds, he left uninterested. The following spring he returned to find the extraordinary beauty that had been hidden behind the clouds. Clay bought the first 80 acres of what would become Shannon Ridge.
In the years since, more than an additional 2,000 acres have been accumulated. For most of the early years, the fruit was sold. Today, half of the fruit is used to produce the award-winning wines in the Shannon Ridge Family of Wines portfolio, with the remaining 50% being purchased by premier wineries in Napa and Sonoma counties. In addition to farming more than 1000 acres of our own, Shannon Ranch farms approximately 2000 acres in neighboring Sacramento valley, 600 acres in Lake County, and 400 acres in Napa Valley.