Stacy Clark has been making wine at Napa Valley’s Pine Ridge Winery for 25 years… two-and-a-half decades… a quarter of a century.
Now matter how you say it, that’s a long time.
Although she now works for Leucadia, the company that bought out founders Gary and Nancy Andrus more than a decade ago, Clark has not only been making Pine Ridge wine, but she has seen Napa Valley evolve into one of the major wine regions of the world.
Pine Ridge was founded by the Andruses in 1978 and Clark came on board in 1983. Her first experience with Napa Valley fruit was with another Stags Leap District operation, Stags Leap Wine Cellars, while she was a student at U.C. Davis.
Asked how she came to work at Pine Ridge, Clark said it was the first winery to offer her a job after she mailed out dozens of resumes just prior to graduation.
“I was hired on as an enologist, and I spent the first two weeks painting barrels,” she told the Napa Valley Register. Gary Andrus was winemaker and his assistant was Grant Taylor, a popular cellar rat who went off to New Zealand to launch his own winemaking operation. She said this was long before the winery’s caves were carved out, when “everything was outside. We were a little primitive then.”
Pine Ridge has grown slowly but surely from Clark’s first harvest, when production hovered around 20,000 cases. Today, it’s slightly more than 35,000 cases made from estate fruit, with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and a new Bordeaux blend accounting for the lion’s share of the output.
Pine Ridge also produces a distinct blend of Chenin Blanc and Viognier from the Lodi region, with production totaling 45,000 cases.