By Miriam Raftery
Photos, left: Bill Schweitzer, Ramona Valley Vineyards Association cofounder and past president at Highland Hills Winery; Pamo Valley Tasting Room on Holiday Wine Tour
January 8, 2017 (Ramona) –“2016 is going to be our greatest vintage so far. Everybody says it came in perfect,” says Bill Schweitzer, cofounder of the Ramona Valley Vineyard Association (RVVA) in 2002, and a driving force in attaining an American Viticulture Area (AVA) designation for Ramona back in 2006. That’s due to the ideal combination of heat, rains and drought years—as well as years of efforts by local vintners now savoring the fruits of their labors.
Sipping wine on the sunny patio at Highland Valley Winery during the Holiday Wine Trail event in December, he reflected that back in 2001, Ramona had just one winery (Schwaesdall) and 20 vineyards growing grapes. Today, there are at least 29 wineries in Ramona, soon to be 35, and 150 vineyards.