Winemaker Ralf Holdenried

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Ralf Holdenried holding grapes.jpgWhen winemaker Ralf Holdenried was invited to craft William Hill Estate's wines in the summer 2007, it was an offer he couldn't refuse.

Ralf says, "The William Hill Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon are classically styled Napa Valley wines."

Ralf acknowledges that William Hill Estate has a history of making world class wine from grapes grown in the prestigious Napa Valley.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for me to carry on an exceptional winemaking tradition."

Ralf was born into a German wine family and throughout this childhood and adolescence worked in his father's vineyard. Ralf studied winemaking and viticulture at the University of Geisenheim, prior to leaving Germany to attend the University of California at Davis. In 1997, Ralf worked his first California harvest at Franciscan Winery in Napa Valley, and shortly thereafter joined the Ernest & Julio Gallo Winery's Sonoma County winemaking team. After returning to UC Davis to earn an MBA, Ralf joined the Louis M. Martini Winery winemaking team in Napa Valley as the winemaking director of Louis M. Martini's small lot wines.
"Everything I've done up to this point has prepared me for this winemaking role," Ralf says of his new assignment at William Hill Estate. "The winery and vineyards are just the right size for making fine wine. I can check on fermentation in one of our steel tanks, then walk through one door and I'm in the barrel cellar. My vineyards are literally right outside my door. This place was clearly designed by winemakers for winemakers."

Ralf adds that although "the winery itself is a little bit off the beaten path" (of wine tourism), "this site was chosen because of the soils, which give us top quality grapes."

Although he is connected to a 200-year old winemaking tradition, Ralf thinks of himself as a "modernist" winemaker. His European training and experience afforded Ralf a highly discreet palate, sensitive to the delicate, complex flavors of Germany's winegrowing regions. That said, Ralf now pursues "more classic, California style wines", that offer rich, full fruit character. Ralf adds "These are wines that I enjoy with food or simply as 'drinks' with friends."

With a new home at William Hill Estate and over 140 Estate-owned acres outside his
office door, Ralf declares, "William Hill Estate provides me with everything I need to make great wines. I can't wait to add my personality to the blend. We are a match with a great future."

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Ralf Holdenried is from the Rheinhessen area between Mainz and Worms. My mother is a Holdenried that has cousin's from the town's of Partenheim and Vendersheim.

How can I contact Ralf Holdenried about our family heritage/history?


Erich J. Wagner
St. Louis, Missouri USA

I just returned from Partenheim and visited with Jorg Holdenried and the entire family. They have a beautiful operation and what made it so neat was that we were there for the harvest which was in the later part of September. We did the Bavarian road trip for eight days but visiting Partenheim was the highlight.

Judy Holdenried Bielamowicz
Houston, Texas USA

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