In 1989 Jim and Carolyn Pride had sold rice land in the Sacramento Valley and were looking for a place to retire. Jim’s business was located in Marin County, California and so, being long-time wine aficionados, they thought that a place in either Napa or Sonoma County would be ideal. Jim could continue running Pride Institute (his dental practice management company) and they could raise grapes which would be sold to others. Retirement looked very appealing!
After months of searching, the old Summit Ranch became available and seemed ideal as its location embraced BOTH Napa and Sonoma counties. The commute was very doable, and neither Carolyn nor Jim was daunted by the prospect of farming as both were from longtime farming families in the Sacramento Valley.
Events unfolded very rapidly after the first year on the property. The grapes the land produced were exceptional. “Why are we selling them to others?” Jim and Carolyn asked themselves. Running the ranch was proving not to be a job for commuters, so they decided to have Carolyn stay on the ranch and shepherd the development of this business that there was seemingly no holding back. Jim would work on Pride Institute business during the week, including traveling extensively to lecture on the business of dentistry. The weekends would find him happily reunited with Carolyn in the vineyard where he spent hard-working and hard-thinking weekends driving the tractor, planning and planting vineyards and visualizing a winery on site. The decade of the ‘90s was a whirlwind and truly a labor of love.
In wonderful family fashion the Prides’ daughter Suzanne and son Steve both joined the business in 2003, after Jim became ill. Suzanne’s husband Stuart Bryan was already on board, having managed national sales since the first vintage in 1991. Sadly, cancer claimed Jim in 2004. True to form, Carolyn persevered with her business responsibilities for the next several years, aided by her long-time staff and her children.