Rich and Susie Adams raised me with an older brother and an older sister on a ranch in West Templeton - what would become the Paso Robles Willow Creek District AVA. We raised livestock and grew rotating crops on this 40 acre property that mom and dad bought in the 70s. We lived near a few pioneering grape farmers in the area, namely the Dusi and Smith families. Terry and Pebble Smith planted the James Berry Vineyard with their son Justin in the 80s. I was childhood friends with Justin and we remained close throughout our college years. I was the happy recipient of many bottles of the earliest incarnations of JBV wines. As JBV became more famous, I tracked their growth, from Wild Horse to Linne Calodo and especially Saxum, where I would eventually work and find the inspiration for building the Adams Ranch Vineyard and Ledge.
As a musician and cinema student in college, I went on to write original music and edit sound for film and television, ultimately landing at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California. I toured with several bands and was constantly in restaurants, bars, and the infinite world of wine. The film industry took me to the Cannes Film Festival in the south of France, where I further experienced the beauty of Rhône wines. The fuse was lit. Touring Europe as a musician enlightened me to the fact that many households made small batches of wine for personal consumption. Through all of this, my heart was never far from Templeton, and the vision grew clearer. I knew that I wanted to return to the ranch and farm it. I visited home regularly over the years and hoped to find an opportunity to explore farming. That opportunity presented itself in the early 2000’s when Saxum was taking flight. I became an intern first and eventually was the first employee at Saxum. In 2005 I planted 4 acres of own rooted Estrella Clone Syrah on the Adams Ranch. These vines were all propagated from cuttings from the Bone Rock terraces at James Berry Vineyard.
In the years just prior to planting the vineyard, I was still cutting sound effects at Sony. I traveled back and forth from my internship at Saxum to my editorial gig, and it was around this time that I fell in love with Ciera Lamborn, who was a soprano at the Los Angeles Opera. We married in 2006. She immediately recognized the potential of the Adams Ranch and became a huge asset to the vineyard, helping plant the vines and run the administrative end of the winery. We furthered our education of Rhône varietals by going to Decouvertes en Valèe du Rhône (France: Avignon to Condrieu), Printemps de Chateauneuf du Pape (spring in CdP) and the world's largest celebration of Rhône varietals, Hospice du Rhône in Paso Robles, where we debuted our first wine, the 2009 Ledge Syrah.
The Adams Ranch Vineyard is currently planted to Grenache, Syrah, Mourvédre, Cinsaut, Counoise, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Clairette Blanche. The soils are sandy clay loam, terra rosa, and gravelly rolled stones - and the property literally rests on a sandstone ledge along the Santa Lucia Mountain Range (hence "Ledge").
We have been experimental since our inception and aim to represent our unique terroir appropriately with our wines. More about our techniques can be found in the blog section of this website.
We produce between 1,000 and 1500 cases of wine per year and source from the Adams Ranch Vineyard, the Bien Nacido Estate and James Berry Vineyard.
Thanks for reading about us, and feel free to email me with questions.
All the Best,
Mark Clement Adams