Ravenswood Winery


What is "No Wimpy Wines"?

As everyone with taste buds knows, robust and red are two qualities that define the wines of Ravenswood.

Our “No Wimpy Wines” motto has been interpreted in many ways. But whether you say it in Spanish (No vinos sin huevos), Latin (Nullum Vinum Flaccidum) or Yiddish (Kayn Nebbishy Vayn), it comes down to the no-holds-barred pursuit of full-throttle, full-flavored wines.

A while back a wine critic gave us high praise when he said Ravenswood Zins have “undeniable zinfidelity.” That captures our goal in a nutshell: Unwavering dedication to authenticity – to the glories of Zinfandel and all the wines we make.

Why Zinfandel? “I like Zin because it’s a tough old bird,” says Zinmaster Joel Peterson. “Treat it with the respect it deserves, and it soars.”

Before Prohibition, Zinfandel was the state’s most widely planted grape and “California clarets” were considered among the finest wines in the world. After the devastating dry years, Zin had become a workhorse. An anonymous blending grape, used to add oomph to lighter wines. A bulk wine, made by avaricious producers who took advantage of the variety’s eager-to-please willingness to produce lots of fruit. As a final injustice, Zinfandel was reduced to oceans of Wimpy pink wine. (But let us be grateful. Many an old-vine vineyard was saved from extinction thanks to pink Zinfandel.)

The wines we like best come from those old, pre-Prohibition survivors – dry-farmed, low-production vineyards located in spots that 19th century grape growers knew would be just right for them.

Ravenswood strives to honor these venerable vineyards with soulful wines that are representative of place, person and period in time. Keeping every vineyard separate in the winery, we use Old World winemaking methods (but don't turn a blind eye to new ideas that might make even better wines). Wild-yeast fermentation, careful maceration in open-top fermentors, long aging in small French oak barrels – our system has changed little over the 30+ years of Ravenswood’s existence. Unlike some of the newcomer brands who've jumped on the Zin bandwagon, Ravenswood wines are never over-oaked or loaded with residual sugar. Our goal is to exalt the grape, not overwhelm it.

Ravenswood wines are well suited to aging, although most are drunk young and greedily by people who love big, gutsy, unapologetic wines.

Ravenswood Winery Logo


Sure, our logo is a timeless Craftsman style with a quirky twist of M.C. Escher and gothic elegance. But from whence came our name and trickster totem? As the story goes...