In December 1989, when Steve was on a break from finishing his in , he and his parents, Jim and Carolyn, went looking for ranches to purchase; a place to get away from the urban environment and be in touch with the land. Just before Christmas, they visited a 170-acre ranch with forty-five acres of dry-farmed vines in the hills west of St. Helena. The family, including Suzanne, fell in love with the mountaintop setting, the property was purchased a few days later, and thus began Pride Mountain Vineyards.
A lot has transpired since then. Only nine of the original forty-five acres of vines are still in production, the rest having been replanted. There are now eighty-three acres of vines on a ranch that has grown to 235 acres. Since Jim passed away in 2004, Steve has been general manager and overseen much of the recent replanting and growth. "One of the most exciting things about the ranch right now," says Steve, "is the youth of the vines. We see time and again that as the vines get to be ten to twelve years old, the wines they produce become more structured and complex. Since most of the vineyard blocks are still quite young, our best vintages are before us, and not behind us."
In the early 1990s, before the winery was in existence, Steve began his career as an academic scientist. After two years as a post-doc at MIT, he married his French wife Laurence, and became a professor at the and later at the University of Rennes in . In 2000, he took a sabbatical at Stanford University as a visiting professor, which enabled him to spend time with his Dad who was diagnosed with cancer in the fall of 2001. In 2003, Steve and Laurence, and their boys Tommy and Sammy, moved from France to the Bay Area to get involved with the winery. Steve obtained a staff-scientist position at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab along with an adjunct-professor position at , and now splits his time between Berkeley and the winery.
"Being a scientist is actually good training for owning and managing a vineyard. As a scientist, you are required to solve difficult problems, experiment and hypothesize, and think outside the box; all qualities that come in handy here at the winery. We are taking nothing for granted at Pride Mountain Vineyards, and are constantly exploring ways to push the quality envelope to the maximum. It's a lot of fun."
Initially started by Katherine Strange as a broker of wines the company has steadily expanded and evolved. Strange Wines is now primarily a distributor in Southern California with sales representation from Santa Barbara / Montecito continuing down south to San Diego and into Palm Desert.
Strange Wines now directly imports and represents select imports of wines from wine producing regions around the world.
Our goal is to service our customers not simply the retailer and restaurateur, but also the winery. We strive for a long term relationship between ourselves, the winery and customer.
We believe that you will appreciate our wine selections. We will be pouring wines from Clif Family and Vina Robles.