The Lolita Ranch is located on Martinelli Road in Forestville, California. Giuseppe & Luisa Martinelli had purchased the steep, forested landscape in the late 1800’s and then later sold this particular section to a neighbor. Eventually it passed on to Bob and Lolita Young, who ran a herd of Angus and Hereford cattle on the land for many years. Lee Martinelli Jr. and his wife Pamela acquired the property in 1999, returning it back to the Martinelli estate and to the family’s continuing century-long legacy of viticulture. Lee Jr. planted the steep hillside in 2001 with four different grape varietals; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Zinfandel.
The 2013 growing year was the second dry year in a row for Sonoma County. It was an especially dry spring and warmed up early, so the vines got an early jump on the season. Bloom came along in early May and the temperatures were perfect for berry pollination. The clusters ended up setting an abundance of berries. We had to do quite a bit of cluster thinning to maintain our desired crop levels and to get some sunlight and air movement into the canopy. Harvest came early as well. Fortunately, we had cooler temps about midway through, which slowed down picking and allowed us to catch up on things - including sleep! Harvest was complete after 7-8 weeks.