Middle Ridge Winery Pays Tribute to Idyllwild Deer Art

Wine release features labels honoring deer sculptures



Chris Johnston started Middle Ridge Winery in his garage, and now the Idyllwild company produces 1,600 cases a year.

Photo Courtesy of Middle Ridge Winery

 

From what started nine years ago in Chris and Melody Johnston’s garage, Middle Ridge Winery will produce 1,600 cases of wine this year at their facility in Temecula.

Chris, a self-described “wine nerd”, began to thoroughly immerse himself into the wine business, so to speak, while working in data communications.

“Chris has now focused on every particular aspect of wine making from personally selecting grapes from all over the state to closely monitoring the wine through the fermentation and ageing process,” says Melody.

Middle Ridge Winery has collected several first-place ribbons for its homemade boutique wines. Some of Chris’ early wines, the 2006 Syrah and 2008 Pinot Grigio, were judged as being among the best in the Temecula Valley and Cucamonga wine regions.

Currently, Middle Ridge offers a dozen varieties of wine such as a 2012 Pinot Grigio from Temecula’s Blue Creek Vineyard, a 2009 Reserve Merlot from Paso Robles, and the 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel from Cory Ranch Lodi. Feedback from a variety of sources is critical to each wine’s introduction.

“We continually invite our patrons and future customers to join us at our annual barrel tastings, wine release parties, and wine sampling events so we can all get in on a discussion on the wines we are presenting,” Chris says.

The couple maintain a tasting room at the Crush & Brew in Old Town Temecula, but their headquarters is in Idyllwild where Chris spent his teenage summers at the Idyllwild Arts Academy.

The mountain community became their home, where the couple’s appreciation for the arts as members of the Art Alliance of Idyllwild spurred the idea of producing an Artists Series label to honor the Idyllwild Deer Sightings.

The first permanent public exhibit to grace the mountain community features 22 life-size deer sculptures, painted by local artists, to commemorate the art, history and culture of Idyllwild.

The unveiling of the Artist Series labels June 21 will coincide with Middle Ridge’s wine release event where the new 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon and two different styles “Meritage” or “Red Blends” will be featured. A donation will given to the Art Alliance of Idyllwild for every bottle sold.

“This is our way to show an appreciation and a tribute to the town and the wonderful work in both the performing and visual arts by our local artists,” says Melody. “It’s also a great way to expose people ‘down the mountain’ to understand and experience all of the wonderful happenings we have going on up here.”

Like what you're reading? Then "Like" us on Facebook and "follow" us on Twitter.

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Desert Guide
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Last-Minute Gift Ideas

No time to plan your holiday shopping list in advance? Fear not: We have you covered with these out-of-the-box suggestions.

Discovery Shop Rancho Mirage Offers Holiday Shopping Alternative

Looking for treasures, especially unique, high-end designer clothing — and you love landing a deal in the name of supporting a worthy charity — consider a trip to the Discovery Shop in Rancho Mirage on your list of holiday shopping must-dos.

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Imago, an iconic Palm Desert gallery, presents affordable small-scale pieces from its featured artists like Dale Chihuly - perfect for holiday offerings.

The Grand Del Mar is a Golfer's Delight Getaway

For desert dwellers seeking a refined, nearby weekend getaway, The Grand Del Mar in San Diego bears exceptional results just a mere two-plus hour drive toward the coast.

Events for the Kid in You

The Coachella Valley comes alive during the holidays with fun activities that cater to children of all ages.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions + Contests

Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Fashionista Friends

Fashionista Friends

Experience the glitz and glamour of Fashion Week El Paseo 2015.
2014/15 Best of the Best

2014/15 Best of the Best

Palm Springs Life’s annual Best of the Best. Readers tell us who their choice is for the “Best of the Best” of the Coachella Valley in over 40 categories.
Edit ModuleShow Tags