The Martinelli family has been growing grapes right here for over 100 years. (They are no relation to the sparkling cider folks.) They are one of the best-kept winery secrets, almost cult-like, in Sonoma County, producing small amounts (under 12,000 cases overall) of very special wines, including zins and pinots, from some fantastic vineyards- like their own Jackass Hill – aptly named as it is so steep, you would be a jackass to try to farm it because of the danger- which is outweighed, obviously- by the incredible fruit that goes into Jackass Hill Zinfandel.
On my recent visit to the newly renovated tasting room at Martinelli Winery, I saw the incredible interior use of the original old barn wood (complete with original graffiti still intact), historical Martinelli family photos, hop barn equipment displays, giant wine cask (that a Baby Martinelli used to be put inside of via the very small opening to clean- uh oh!), not to mention the Martinelli wines and gift items.
I saw folks that were being VIP guided out in the vines – harvest time. I asked about that and was told that certain “Mailing List” guests are invited to special harvest events. There is no Wine Club per se- instead there is the Mailing List, where loyalty to Martinelli wines counts for a great deal. The Martinelli Values are: Communication, Continuous Improvement, Reliability, Punctuality/Timeliness, Customer Delight.
Here’s looking at you, kids.