One of the most endearing things about Zinfandel is it’s sustained starring role in California’s tradition of family farming and having an old country road with your family name on it is solid cred! A prime example in Sonoma County: The Martinelli family has been farming many crops, including Zinfandel, in the Russian River for 135 years, beginning with Giuseppe and Luisa Martinelli in the 1880’s. The winery’s famed Jackass Hill Vineyard on Martinelli Road was planted around that date – but due to the lack of paper records in those early days, even the Martinellis don’t know exactly when.
The Martinelli winery located on River Road is hard to miss – the historic, eye-catching, big red hop barn is perhaps the most recognizable landmark in Russian River.
The Martinellis are a farming legend in Sonoma County with 450 acres of prime vineyards from Russian River to the Sonoma Coast with family members overseeing every vine. Martinelli’s five Zinfandels come from the Russian River estate vineyards – mosty old vines. Winemaker Courtney Wagoner crafts them in a decadent Martinelli house style that is best characterized as big but balanced. Softly-textured and with deep fruit, these are luscious Zinfandels that express Russian River to the fullest. Small in volume, they sell out so it’s best to be on the winery’s Members List.
Visitors can choose among three different tasting experiences: Make advance appointments for either the Terrace overlooking the winery property, the historic Hop Barn, or the old Baler Bar. Walk-in tastings are available Thursday through Sunday.