People immediately understand why the winery estate was previously named "Summit Ranch."

The twisting twenty-minute drive west from St. Helena, or east from Santa Rosa, rewards visitors with a stunning view of rugged Mount St. Helena to the northeast and verdant vineyards rising skyward in all directions.

Pride Mountain Vineyards is a 235-acre estate with a wooden-beamed, modest-sized winery that blends smoothly into its mountainous surroundings and California heritage. The charming and unpretentious tasting room offers guests the opportunity to sample the latest vintages while chatting with the gracious and knowledgeable staff. County regulations require that visitors hold a prior appointment.

Those joining the Pride Mountain crew for one of our tasting experiences can also enjoy the property's other unique features. Besides the winery, the crush pad is bisected by a brick inlay that defines the Napa/Sonoma County line. Walking into the caves, the temperature drops to the high 50s, humidity rises, and the visitor is greeted with the heady aromas of wine and oak. 23,000 square feet of subterranean storage wind naturally under the hillside, opening out onto a terrace overlooking the vineyards and the scenic northern Napa Valley.

Back into the bright sun, then down a single-lane road, the ruin of the original Summit Ranch winery, built in 1890, looms through the fir and oak trees. The four walls are now silent, but provide a peaceful spot for a post-tasting picnic.

The Pride family has reason to be pleased with the combination of restoration and innovation, of form and function, and hopes each visitor leaves with a warmer and better understanding of winemaking.