In 1981, Erich opened Rabbit Ridge Winery and Vineyards in Healdsburg, California named after his college track nickname, "The Rabbit". Rabbit Ridge became a successful, cult winery producing up to 250 thousand cases per year. The winery continued growing and producing wine in Sonoma County until all operations were moved to beautiful Paso Robles, on the Central Coast of California. Soon after the move to Paso Robles, Erich began planting over 450 acres of land; all in production today.
In 1996, Erich met his wife Joanne James, a lifelong resident of St. Petersburg Florida, while promoting Rabbit Ridge wines at one of Disney's top restaurants. Joanne was interviewing with Rabbit Ridge's wine distributor at the same time, and the two met. Having graduated from Northeast High School and Eckerd College, Joanne was working as a runway model and had her own catering business, along with a fledgling interest in good wine. Erich and Joanne were married in 1999 and maintained a residence in St. Petersburg while Joanne's daughter grew up, completed high school and went off to college. Joanne's daughter has since graduated from college Suma cum laude, and now works for Rabbit Ridge in Paso Robles.
In 2001, Erich and Joanne began construction on their new winery on San Marcos Road. Erich had always wanted a winery that was high-tech with all the bells and whistles. The couple took design ideas from their trips to Tuscany and the Mediterranean and implemented them to get the look they wanted for the Paso Robles winery - Regal and Old-World.
Today, Erich and Joanne produce 100 thousand cases per year and farm 350 acres of premium grapes, all grown of the west side of Paso Robles, Ca.
Owners' and Winemaker
Erich and Joanne Russell
RABBIT RIDGE WINERY
1172 San Marcos Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446
Open- Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
11 am-4:30 pm (805) 467-3331
Copyright © Rabbit Ridge Winery and Vineyards | All Rights Reserved