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 2015 harvest was the earliest that we have had in a while, starting on August 12th. Even though the previous three years were all very early harvests, 2015 had them all beat. We had a very dry spring with cool weather during bloom (April-May) which caused a long fruit-set period that resulted in some shatter, creating a reduced crop size by 35-50% in some vineyards. The combination of lower yields and early spring bud break meant the ripening period started off early and progressed rapidly. Despite these challenging growing conditions and lower yields, the fruit quality for 2015 was exceptional.