Our Stephen Ross story begins with the "Stephen Ross Dooley wine story" in Minnesota, where in my teenage years curiosity in wine led me to make rhubarb and apple wines in the family basement…
Things progressed on a nice upward trajectory from that point. Curiosity evolved into a passion for winemaking, which led to a degree in Enology from The University of California, Davis; then 10 years of winemaking (all vinifera from here on out, thankfully) in the Napa Valley, two southern hemisphere harvests, and seven years in the Edna Valley before I launched my own brand, Stephen Ross. Paula joined the team soon after, and we hired the first employee in 2005. A companion brand, Flying Cloud, was launched in 2003.
Stephen Ross was founded on the principles of working with quality vineyards and hand-crafting the best wines possible from the grapes they yield. The winery started small, grew as financial resources allowed, and we stuck to our principles in winemaking and business – great, small production wines, solid business practices, and a nice, engaging place to work for our crew.
We planted our estate vineyard, Stone Corral Vineyard, entirely to pinot noir in 2001 in partnership with two other wineries in the area. In addition to our estate vineyard, we have continued to contract grapes from some of the best vineyards on the Central Coast.
Flying Cloud came along when we identified a need in the market for excellent value wines and varieties other than our main line of business. Flying Cloud over-delivers on quality, at great prices. The name pays homage to my Minnesota upbringing, and is the name of a little airport in the town of Eden Prairie, MN.
Today, Paula and I consider ourselves one of the luckiest married work teams ever. We get to work together every day, with our passionate and dedicated crew, to produce unique and interesting high-quality wines.