The Zio Tony Ranch is named after Lee Sr.’s uncle Tony who was the first in the Bondi family to be born on American soil. Zio Tony, Zio meaning 'uncle' in Italian and pronounced 'tseo', was a very charismatic man with a big booming voice whom loved a good time. When Zio Tony passed away in 1971 his nephew, Lee Martinelli, Sr., took over management of the estate. The love of his family's heritage land was too great for Lee to sell the property and in one short season, he went from High School teacher to Apple Farmer. Eventually, this apple orchard was converted to vineyards, as the market for apples grew unbearably soft. The vines are planted on rolling hills made up of Gold Ridge soil, with Clones consisting of 95, 76, and 548.
The 2019 season was overall very cool with record rainfall for Sonoma County in February. The vines however were not affected by this because they were still dormant at the time. Similar to the 2018 season, spring and summer were moderate in temperature and ripening developed gradually and under minimal stress. This year was in fact so similar to 2018 that we began harvest the same day, on September 10th. Unfortunately another wildfire hit the region at the end of October, but luckily none of our vineyards were affected. The winery and many employees were evacuated, but we were able to keep an eye on the new vintage with a skeleton crew. The quality was not impacted and we are very excited at the concentration of flavors in this vintage.