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Ravenswood spent its first years as a wandering winery. In five years, founder Joel Peterson moved the entire operation - tanks, stock, barrels, and all – five times. However, for 10 years, the winery did settle in an old tin-roofed shelter that was once a woodworking shop producing gourmet oak toilet seats, demonstrating that you can make good wine just about anywhere if you’re determined enough.

The wine world and California’s place in it has changed a lot since 1976. But the more things change, the more they stay the same for Ravenswood. Ravenswood continues to set a standard for uncompromising wines that are true to the places where the grapes grew – nothing less, nothing more.

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Ravenswood - Uncompromising Wines

The Circle of Ravens

On a dark and gloomy fall afternoon in 1976, Joel Peterson drove out to Dry Creek to pick up the freshly harvested grapes destined for one of his debut- vintage Zins. But to his dismay, the 50-lb wooden bins brimming with fruit were scattered in different spots all over the vineyard. Under the threatening sky with lightning glinting in the surrounding hills, Joel worked alone, lugging crate after crate to his truck. As he toiled, two ravens harassed him, croaking from trees above. “At first, all I could hear was Poe’s raven, croaking ‘Nevermore,’” Joel remembers.

A light drizzle had begun, but miraculously the rain fell everywhere except where Joel worked. After he loaded the last bin, a double rainbow appeared in the sky and Joel recalled a Native American legend about a wise and wily raven who tutored early man in the art of survival. “I decided that instead of being harbingers of doom, those ravens were protecting me and cheering me on.” By the time he loaded the last crate into his truck well after dark, Joel had taken the sleek black bird as his totem.

- The Barrel Room Staff