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 2018 season was much calmer than 2017, due to the absence of extra rain and heat spikes we experienced in 2017. The moderate temperatures in the spring and summer allowed for a longer growing season and full flavor development. There was plenty of water in the soil to carry the clusters through the long growing season with minimal dehydration. Our first day of harvest in 2018 was September 10th, compared with an August 26th start in 2017. It was nice that the production crew could enjoy the Labor Day holiday right before the long hours and hard work of harvest began.