Longtime Ridge winemaker takes the helm at Napa’s Merus

Winemaker Eric Baugher sits with barrel samples at Merus winery in St. Helena. Baugher was recruited by owner Bill Foley to helm the Napa winery after 27 years at Ridge Vineyards in Cupertino. (Photo by Laura Ness)

When Bill Foley purchased Merus, the Napa winery had fallen on hard times. Seeking to raise Merus to the level of Monte Bello in terms of quality and reputation, Foley recruited Ridge winemaker Eric Baugher to take over the cabernet-focused operation.

Baugher left the iconic Cupertino winery in January 2021, after 27 years of making wine with Paul Draper.

A Santa Cruz native who graduated from

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