Since 2000 Lee Martinelli Jr. has been our vineyard manager. He is a farmer extraordinaire and our next door neighbor. In 2004 he won the Sonoma County Young Farmer of the Year. He manages the Martinelli family farm as well as ours. Lee’s family comes with over 80 years in the Sonoma County farming and wine industry.
He treats our vineyards as if they were his own, being a perfectionist, and has a crew that is incredibly compulsive and efficient. The current and future drought conditions is only one of the many challenges that are being faced by the California vineyard community requiring constant vigilance and conservation of our limited resources.
Every effort is taken to farm in an environmentally sustainable way. After all, we know that without healthy land there would be no grapes or great wine. Every year we strive to use the least amount of chemicals while producing incredible fruit.
The winery and vineyard rely on our solar roof panels to decrease our dependance on our precious resources and to have less impact on our environment. Our annual electric bill is now about $200 per year.
We have about 10.8 acres of our 15 acre parcel planted in grapes. The land has long been known to grow grapes well. The cool foggy nights that warm up during the day is essential to create the premium fruit that is used in our wines.
About 25% of our grapes are used by us to create premium estate bottled wines. We still sell the majority of our grapes to other wineries.
All of our wines are estate grown and bottled. We buy no fruit from other vineyards. After several years of having consulting local renowned winemakers, including Dan Goldfield, Rod Berglund, and Patrick Melley, Stew has taken over the reins as winemaker. We still occasionally call upon our consultants.
We love the Russian River Valley Wine area. The wine industry in this area is always helpful and friendly. Although we are all in competition, we each want the other to succeed as well, in what is the most collegial of competition.
In 2006, Barb said, “We don’t grow white grapes but we need a summer wine, so why don’t we make a Rosé?” That first vintage ended up at a celebrity chef restaurant in Washington DC.
In 2008, Barb said, “I’m buying too much port,” so Stew got out the books and produced the first barrel of our “port” (Syrah Dessert Wine). The 2013 Dessert Wine won the “Best of Class” at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair for port style wines.
In 2015, Barb said, “Why don’t we make a sparkling?” And as every husband knows, “happy wife, happy life,” so Stew got out the books and made the first batch of a Pinot Noir “noir de noir,” a red sparkling pinot noir. This has received rave reviews from our friends and wine club family.
Our small lot productions of Pinot Noir, Syrah, Syrah Rose, Syrah Dessert Wine(Port), and in 2013 a Late Harvest Syrah, is renowned for their unique and wonderful characteristics known in the Russian River Valley Appellation.