The Lolita Ranch is located on Martinelli Road in Forestville. The property was part of the original Martinelli Homestead Ranch, belonging to Giuseppe and Luisa Martinelli who purchased the steep, forested land in the late 1800’s. Later, their eldest son Fred sold the parcel to his neighbor, Lolita Young’s mother. Eventually Bob and Lolita Young inherited it, and ran a herd of cattle on the land for many years. Lee Martinelli Jr. and his wife Pamela acquired the property in 1999 from Bob Young after Lolita’s passing, returning it back to the Martinelli estate and to the family’s continuing century-long legacy of viticulture. Lee Jr. decided to name the ranch after Lolita, and planted the steep hillside in 2001 with four different grape varietals: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Zinfandel.
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.