This rugged section of the ranch is referred to by the Martinelli family as “Jackass
Hill” because only a jackass would farm a hill that steep. Jackass Hill is the
steepest non-terraced hillside vineyard in Sonoma County. These Muscat vines
are interspersed within the old Zinfandel vineyard, and are also over 100 years old,
head-pruned, and picked separate from the Zinfandel that surrounds it.
The growing season of 2017 stayed wet with spring rains and cooler temperatures,
providing moist soil reserves through the summer. The summer had stretches of
hot days throughout, especially over the Labor Day weekend, when harvest was at
its peak. We were very lucky in October 2017 that the Tubbs Fire, which burned
from Calistoga to Santa Rosa, stopped 1.5 miles from our properties. Across
Sonoma County as well as in our vineyards, 95% of all wine grapes were already
harvested and were not affected by the smoke from these devastating fires.