In 2008, Winemaker Gary Robinson planted a small vineyard, Monte Roble Vineyard, in his backyard in Los Gatos, California. At first, he wasn’t considering making wine with the vineyard fruit, but then one step led to another, and through the process of planting, growing, harvesting, and making small batches of wine in his garage, he developed a passion for winemaking. That passion led to studying at UC Davis, helping with pruning and harvests at local vineyards, and working in the winery at Testarossa Vineyards in Los Gatos.
As an avid cyclist, Gary explores the trails and mountain roads throughout the Santa Cruz Mountains. For him, the mountains are a magical place to explore beautiful views, long climbs on steep slopes, towering Redwood forests, wide open expanses of native chaparral, cool mornings, bright sunshine-filled afternoons, and a rural lifestyle that evokes a simpler, less stressful time.
Richard Hanke, a fellow cyclist and wine enthusiast, joined Gary in the Left Bend venture in 2013. After retiring from a high-tech career in Silicon Valley, Richard took up cycling, starting with a tour across the United States, followed by numerous tours in California. On a trip through Calistoga, Richard stopped at Chateau Montelena and has been in love with wine and California wine history ever since. On his daily rides in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Richard was impressed with the amount of vines planted locally, and then discovered the historic Ridge Winery on one of his favorite climbs, Montebello Road. Like Chateau Montelena, Ridge also participated in the famous “Judgment of Paris” and is a testament to the wine quality found in the Santa Cruz Mountains viticulture region.