Home Industry News Releases Martinelli Winery & Vineyards Continues Family Farming Legacy by Securing Full Ownership...

Martinelli Winery & Vineyards Continues Family Farming Legacy by Securing Full Ownership of Two Key Sonoma County Vineyards


Fifth Generation Sonoma County Farming Family Acquires Three Sisters Vineyard and Charles Ranch Vineyard in One of Sonoma County’s Most Distinctive AVAs, Fort Ross / Seaview 

 Windsor, CA – September 13, 2018:  On June 29, 2018, Carolyn (Charles) Martinelli and her husband Lee Sr., along with their four kids, further committed to keeping their winery family owned and operated with the purchase of 465 acres of the Charles Ranch, including two vineyards, the Charles Ranch Vineyard and Three Sisters Vineyard, with a total of 27 acres planted. Previously, Carolyn shared the property with her two sisters. The Martinelli Family remain resolute in their commitment to continue their 140+ years of Sonoma County farming by investing in their own winemaking and farming for future generations. 

“This is our stake in the ground. Literally.” says Regina Martinelli, Carolyn and Lee Sr.’s daughter, whose business card states “The Great Granddaughter of the Original Jackass,” referring to another of their famed vineyards – Jackass Hill in Russian River Valley. “We’re protecting our family’s legacy and commitment to the farming lifestyle and wine industry as a whole.”

Located two ridges in from the Pacific Ocean, due east of Fort Ross Historic Park, the Charles Ranch property has been in Carolyn’s family since the 1860s, first homesteaded by her great grandparents. George Charles, Carolyn’s father, was a fourth-generation rancher in the vast rugged hills and raised 2,000 head of sheep along with a small herd of bison. In 1981 he became a grape growing pioneer as the second person to plant grapes in this remote coastal region.

“It’s hard to put into words the importance of keeping this storied property in the family,” says Carolyn Martinelli. “A good deal of my childhood was spent at the ranch; my four children and their children also spent much of their childhoods there.” The Charles Ranch has been a family favorite for generations. Hiking, swimming, hunting, horseback riding, family gatherings and camping are deeply rooted memories shared by the whole family. In his first years of visiting the Charles Ranch, Lee Sr. recalls jeeping, ATVing and hunting with his father-in-law as well as all sorts of outdoor activities with the family. That time amounted to relaxation and time away from the rigors of grape growing and running a winery.

“Each of my children has great fondness of this land,” notes Lee Sr. “It has shaped our work ethic in the way our other vineyards have, but this property in particular has brought us closer together and made our passion for the land stronger.”

Martinelli Winery & Vineyards aligns with the Sonoma County Winegrowers Alliance and is a Certified California Sustainable Winegrower. Love of the land and sustainability have been woven into their core for five generations and today they are passing along these values to a sixth generation. This ideology is a big part of why they secured the Charles Ranch land and two vineyards. “We cherish the gift of the land to provide for our family and those who work for us here in Sonoma County in the vineyards and at the winery,” says Lee Sr. “Our family believes that sustainability can be augmented by building a healthy community and creating a resilient, quality product through hard work and craftsmanship. For wine, it’s all about the vineyard and there’s a finite number of high-quality sites. We believe we just secured two of the best.”

Including these two vineyards, the Martinelli’s own 19 vineyard sites throughout Sonoma County planted to 450 acres. They are one of the preeminent family wineries and estate vineyard owners in the county, all active in the industry and 90% of the wine grapes they grow are sold to neighboring wineries. The Martinelli’s are best known for their critically acclaimed wines, notably Jackass Hill Zinfandel, which consistently receives high praise from wine critics. Charles Ranch Vineyard Chardonnay and the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Three Sisters Vineyard also receive high marks.

Several Sonoma County wineries purchase grapes from these two vineyards including Ramey Wine Cellars, Benovia Winery, Patz & Hall Winery, Kosta Browne and Williams Selyem, among others.

The original Martinelli Winery was established in the 1880’s by Lee Sr.’s grandfather, Giuseppe Martinelli on Martinelli Road. 100 years later the current Martinelli Winery & Vineyards was opened in a historic hop barn on River Road by Lee Martinelli Sr. and his wife Carolyn. The family has been growing grapes in Sonoma County since the 1880s and has received numerous awards and recognition as leaders in agriculture, including Lee Sr. and Carolyn being named Sonoma County Icons by the Sonoma County Vintners in 2015, the 2013 Farm Family of the Year by Sonoma County Farm Bureau, the 2018 Santa Rosa Metro Chambers Leadership in Agriculture award, and Lee Sr., Lee Jr. and George Martinelli have all received the Young Farmer of the Year award from Sonoma County, all before they were 40 years old. The Martinelli’s own 19 vineyard sites planted to 450 acres in four American Viticulture Areas (AVAs), all wholly within Sonoma County. Their wines are 100% estate grown and bottled and the winery and vineyards are recognized as a Certified California Sustainable.

Previous articleThe Thornhill Companies Welcomes New Winemaker to Team
Next articleTaylor Fladgate Chip Dry, Extra Dry White Port Now Available in the U.S. Market


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.