The Green Family grew up in Southern California, with plenty of horses and surfing. Russell Green was in the oil business, and bought a ranch with frontage on the Russian River in Alexander Valley as a summer place in 1959. His family had owned cabins on the river since 1910, so he knew the property from years of canoeing and stopping at “the fishing hole”. What was not part of family tradition, however, was his pioneering determination to plant high quality wine grapes and to make the ranch pay for itself. His friends, the Wentes, had a winery, and were able to make recommendations for planting. By 1965, his Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon were shipping down to wineries in the Napa Valley for one of its first big expansions. This growth for Alexander Valley was threatened in1968, when Napa passed its 85% rule on appellation of origin.  Russ made another important decision at this time, quitting the increasingly conglomerate world of the oil industry, and buying the derelict Simi Winery in Healdsburg.

The whole family worked hard to clean, resurrect, and promote this unique winery. Russ made many more groundbreaking decisions in the several years, organizing an Appellation of Origin for the Alexander Valley (finally approved in 1984), hiring the first woman winemaker outside of a family, MaryAnn Graf, and bringing on as consultant, the great Andre Tchellistcheff, to insure the highest possible wine quality. Though he sold the winery in 1974 his decisions permanently changed our family’s perspectives and the lives and possibilities of many people in the wine industry. The Green’s Hoot Owl Creek Ranch is still owned by the family and has continued to lead the industry in quality wine grapes and in research projects.