Paul Draper

Lifetime Achievements 2014
Cupertino, California

Paul Draper grew up on an 80-acre farm near the Chicago suburb of Barrington. After attending the Choate School and receiving a degree in philosophy from Stanford University, he lived for two years in northern Italy. He went on to attend the University of Paris and travelled extensively in France. In both Italy and France, he sought out and studied traditional winemaking practices. In the mid-1960s, with a close friend, he set up a small winery in the coast range of Chile and produced several vintages of old-vine Cabernet Sauvignon.

He joined Ridge Vineyards in 1969 Without any formal training in winemaking, Draper first gained recognition for his 1971 Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon when it placed fifth at the Judgment of Paris wine tasting. Draper has played a significant role in the history of California wine through his pioneering work in popularizing “vineyard-designated” wines as well as instigating the resurgence of old vine Zinfandel. Draper is considered one of the most important figures in the history, along with Ravenswood Winery’s Joel Peterson, of Californian Zinfandel, for rescuing the grape from obscurity and demonstrating its full potential as a serious wine.

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