Shades of Shake Ridge, May 6, 2024 – a tasting of wines sourced from Shake Ridge Ranch

Shades of Shake Ridge – May 6, 2024

I attended the Shades of Shake Ridge event May 6, 2024 – held about every five years at Shake Ridge Ranch, east of Sutter Creek in Amador County, the event is organized and hosted by Shake Ridge grapegrower Ann Kraemer and her family. It’s a gathering of vintners who make wines from the vineyard’s fruit as well as members of the wine trade and media plus additional guests. The event includes a tasting in the vineyard of the wines, followed by an informal meal outside of the vineyard barn where the vintners and other attendees can relax and enjoy themselves.

Ann Kraemer may be the most renowned grapegrower in the Sierra Foothills. After many years as vineyard manager at Swanson Vineyards in Napa Valley, as well as managing vineyards and consulting on viticulture for wineries including Domaine Chandon, Cain, Calera, Paul Hobbs and Shafer, Ann and her family purchased the Shake Ridge Ranch property in 2001 and began planting it in 2003. Around 45 acres of vines are planted in the rocky red soil there, with about a dozen grape varieties. There are mostly red varieties planted there – Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Primitivo, Barbera, Tempranillo, Graciano, and Malbec – plus some Viognier and Greco di Tufo. Ann’s experience has led her to farm the vineyard with great care and detail, and it’s no wonder that the fruit from Shake Ridge is so highly sought-after from vintners.

Ann Kraemer (right) with Jill Davis of Extradimensional Wine Co. Yeah!

I drove from the East Bay, carpooling with Matt Wood of Indie Wine Podcast and Fred Swan, longtime wine writer and educator. We arrived at Shake Ridge Ranch and made our way up to the large barn that overlooks part of the vineyard, and from there out to the vineyard itself, where tasting tables for the wineries were set up in five areas between vine blocks. “Grazing Stations” with bread, cheese, olives, nuts, raw veggies, tapenade and hummus, and other delicious items were also set out in the tasting areas – an excellent spread from Kimberly Medici of Table Nectar Catering. The weather could not have been better, with clear skies, moderate temperatures, and little wind.

About 35 producers provided wines for the tasting, and many of the vintners themselves were able to attend the event. Most wines were current releases, while there were also some barrel samples and older wines. While nearly all of wines that were poured were sourced entirely from Shake Ridge Ranch fruit, a few also included a little fruit from other vineyards. We had about 3-1/2 hours to stroll around the vineyard and taste, though I still didn’t manage to get to every winery table in that time. I tasted a few more wines after we’d all congregated back at the barn for a late lunch, as many of the vintners brought opened bottles from the tasting and set them out on a large table for everyone to enjoy. The build-your-own tacos at lunch were terrific, and again were provided by Table Nectar Catering. There were plenty of large tables with shade coverings on the patio behind the barn, and it was a great spot to relax, enjoy the tacos and more wines, and talk with both old friends and new ones. It had been a number of years since I’d seen some of the people at the event, and it was wonderful to be able to reconnect with them there.

Steve Edmunds, Alder Yarrow, Mike & Martha Dunne

Although I won’t go into detail about the wines sourced from Shake Ridge Ranch at the tasting, I do want to mention some favorites.

A Tribute to Grace Wine Co. 2016 Grenache
A Tribute to Grace Wine Co. 2020 Grenache
A Tribute to Grace Wine Co. 2018 “Luke”
(55% Graciano, 45% Grenache)
Bedrock Wine Co. 2021 Barbera
Birdhorse Wines 2021 Barbera
Cantadora Wines 2019 “The Healer” Mourvèdre
(with 20% Syrah)
Cary Q Wines 2020 “Perfect Storm” Grenache/Tempranillo
Desire Lines 2022 Syrah
Edmunds St. John 2020 “El Jaleo”
(Graciano, Tempranillo, Grenache, and Mourvèdre)
El Straniero 2021 “Uva nel Limbo” (Greco di Tufo)
Emme Wines 2022 “Hasta la Raiz” Mourvèdre
Emme Wines NV “I Move With You” Grenache/Mourvèdre
(50% each from 2023 and 2022)
Extradimensional Wine Co. Yeah! 2023 Mourvèdre (with a little Barbera and Primitivo)
Keplinger Wines 2016 “Lithic” (Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah)
Krupp Brothers 2023 Tempranillo (barrel sample, will be blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for “The Doctor”)
Le Artshasic Wines 2019 Syrah
Lone Madrone 2023 Syrah
(barrel sample)
Lucid Wines 2021 Malbec
Newfound Wines 2022 Mourvèdre
Newsome Harlow 2021 Barbera
Orixe Sotelo 2023 “Raspon”
(Tempranillo plus a little Mencia and Prieto Picudo)
Tabeaux Cellars 2021 Mourvèdre
Tablas Creek 2023 Syrah
(barrel sample)
Terah Wine Co. 2022 Barbera
The End of Nowhere 2021 “Stroke of Luck” Primitivo
Turley Wine Cellars 2019 Zinfandel
Yorba 2015 “Shake Ridge”
(blend of many of the vineyard’s red grape varieties)

There were many more wines at the tasting that I enjoyed too. A few producers poured just a single wine that was very good, but among those that poured more than one, A Tribute to Grace was my overall favorite, with Emme a close second. I’d known of both producers but had little experience trying their wines prior to this tasting at Shake Ridge. A number of other producers poured strong wine lineups as well. There were quite a few producers that were completely new to me at this tasting, and of those, Orixe Sotelo was my discovery of the day with Cantadora the runner-up there. One of the great things about Shake Ridge Ranch is that they sell fruit to new and little-known vintners as well as to established ones, and that’s helped more than one winemaker to get their label off the ground. The tasting featured vintners producing their wines in a variety of styles, picking at different levels of ripeness and using different fermentation and aging methods, and it was a great opportunity to taste how the Shake Ridge fruit is reflected in each of their wines.

Angela Osborne of A Tribute to Grace

As Ann made clear several times during the day, the active support and help of her family has been instrumental at Shake Ridge right from the start. During my one previous visit with Ann at the vineyard in late 2013, her father and brother-in-law were rolling up bird netting for the year. And her family has been instrumental in all of the work that goes into the Shades of Shake Ridge event – it’s certainly very generous of them to host it. Every aspect of the day was extremely well-organized, and I feel the level of detail that went into planning and carrying out the event is a reflection of Ann’s care in the vineyard.

This was an exceptionally memorable day – not only the wine tasting but also the real feeling of camaraderie that I sensed from everyone there. The diversity and high quality of wines made from Shake Ridge Ranch fruit was on full display. It really couldn’t have been a better day, and I look forward to the next Shades of Shake Ridge event.

Rosalind Reynolds of Emme Wines


‘20 ESJ El Jaleo?! I didn’t know Steve made any reds after 2018 other than Bone-Jolly Gamay.

Looks like a wonderful time Ken, Thanks for the write-up. Nice to see CA wine getting a nod of appreciation.

1 Like

Larry, Steve poured a 2021 El Jaleo as well though I preferred the 2020.


Thanks for posting Ken, I thought that was a pretty amazing event. A lot of my favorites align with yours, great wines and amazing scenery.

1 Like

That first picture is stunning, sounds like a great event and glad to see the area get some love on here.


Great stuff, as always.

Have had a few wines with Shake Ridge fruit. A couple of Grace and Hatcher come to mind.

1 Like

Awesome tasting

That Bedrock barbera was so good, I’ll have to check out the others using that fruit

1 Like

Here’s a photo of Chris with that Barbera.


Thanks for the write up! I love Shake Ridge Syrah from Desire Lines, but haven’t tried many others.

1 Like

Tonight I will drink one of my few remaining Dirty and Rowdy Shake Ridge Ranch Mourvèdre (letting Hardy’s EWCY! Shake Ridge Ranch Mourvèdre sleep) in solidarity.




Great seeing you Ken! Thanks for joining on such a beautiful day at the ranch.


Great to see you too, Cody! Really enjoyed your wines at Shake Ridge as well as at the HVS tasting.

Summer Salters Rosé III!

1 Like

Just a quick follow-up to note that this write-up is now posted on the Grape-Nutz website:
Shades of Shake Ridge Tasting – May 6, 2024