Fort Ross wines are produced by Linda and Lester Schwartz. From their South African backgrounds in geology and farming (Lester), music and teaching (Linda) the two came to the US around 1976. In 1988, they purchased the land on which Fort Ross Vineyards are located, high above the Pacific on the ridges of the Sonoma Coast. Meticulous laying-out of the vineyards according to the prevailing winds and terrain produced a crazy-quilt of vineyards on the steep hills. One of the grapes that the the Schwartz's planted was pinotage, a rare visitor to Calfornia but an important grape in their native South Africa. Today they are producing some of the finest pinot noirs and chardonnays available, and both grape varieties are well-suited to the Sonoma Coast soil and climate.