Martinelli Winery is impossible to miss on River Road in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley wine country. The massive brick-red hop barn facade is legendary in these parts. Tuscan transplants Giuseppe and Luisa Martinelli cultivated grapes in 1898 on a steep 60 degree slope, now known as Jackass Hill. The non-terraced steep slope was originally planted to Zinfandel and Muscat Alexandria and surrounding fields were planted to Gravenstein and Golden Delicious apples, cherries, pears, prunes, hops, berries, walnuts, potatoes and green beans. The centurion vineyard, Jackass Hill, took its name when family told Martinelli that “only a jackass would farm a hill that steep”. Today, that very vineyard produces some of the finest old vine Zinfandel in the valley.
Descendants of the Martinelli family, Lee Sr. and his sons now farm the vineyards and his daughters manage the office and marketing for the winery. The turn of the century tasting room also serves as a mini museum with many artifacts, an old wine press and sepia wall photos of the Martinelli family.
Martinelli‘s vineyards are strategically positioned in the Russian River Valley and along the Sonoma Coast in the Fort Ross/Seaview area. While the best grapes are retained for the estate wines, over 90% of the grapes are sold to other Sonoma County wineries.
The Martinelli Winery tasting menu features Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Syrah,and Muscat of Alexandria, all earning 90+ points with the Wine Spectator magazine. Not to be missed are the 2014 Zio Tony Ranch Chardonnay, the 2014 Moonshine Ranch Pinot Noir, the 2013 Lolita Ranch Zinfandel and the 2014 Giuseppe and Luisa Zinfandel, a tribute to the founders of Martinelli Winery.
For a piece of Russian River Valley wine history and a fabulous glass of wine, check out Martinelli Winery. www.martinelliwinery.com