Russian River Valley
Conte Vineyard-Russian River Valley-Sonoma County
Sweeping down from their handsome family home on a small lane just south of the town of Healdsburg lies the Conte Vineyard. This vineyard has love written all over it. Ron Conte planted the two acres in 1995 and 2000 and has personally pruned and trained every vine since that time. He even watered every new baby vine by hand with a garden hose until he could install a drip irrigation system in 2001.
The vineyard is a field blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouchet, Grenache and Carignane added for color and complexity. In keeping with the tender care these vines have grown used to, no chemicals are ever used except for the rare sulfur dust to prevent mildew. Maximum daily sun due to the southern exposure does 99% of this job.
Ron spent a few years making wine but decided his joy was in the growing. Lucky for us.
Conte Vineyard as seen from Red Tail Lane, Healdsburg.
Clopton Vineyard-Russian River Valley-Sonoma County
In 2009 a friend, Cindy Clopton suggested that we might be interested in her and her husband’s vineyard. It sits on Starr Road in Windsor where fine grapes are grown so of course we were interested, However on first site we were a little taken aback. It seemed sorely neglected at best. The worst as it turned out was that we had to hire 2 guys to pull out all the poison oak before any vineyards workers would go near it. These are the grapes that got us 90 points in Spectator.
This 8 acres was planted over 100 years ago and dry farmed, yielding only about 3 tons in total. That’s about 1/3 of a ton per acre so we have some seriously concentrated flavor here. It’s Zinfandel, Alicante Bouchet with very little Palomino. It looks better since we’ve been watching over it and we’re thrilled to have it.
These 100+ year old vines are few and far between at Clopton Vineyard in Windsor.
Forchini Vineyards-Russian River Valley-Sonoma County
21 of the 24 acres in this plot were planted 100 years ago with Zinfandel. The Forchini’s planted Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Petite Sirah. The fruit has gone to the likes of Williams-Selyum , Ledson and Christopher Creek.
Forchini Russian River ‘old vine’ 100+ year old Zinfandel
Robert Rue Vineyard-Wood Road-Russian River Valley-Sonoma County
In 1973 Carlene Rue’s father advised her and her husband, Robert, to purchase a property on Wood Road in Santa Rosa. On it sat a 9 acre vineyard that had been planted in Zinfandel in 1898. Now that’s really ‘OLD vine Zin.’ This is flat land that lies amid a panorama of vines as far as the naked eye can see. For years the Rue’s, with the help of a vineyard manager, have worked their fields and sold their grapes to the likes of Cline, Rosenblum and Geyserpeak. It is an Italian field blend made up of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouchet, Carignane and Palomino which is a sweet white grape. I asked Robert if the differing vines were marked for identification. He said no, the folks that planted it didn’t seem to care much where anything was; only that it was a good blend. He said you get to know the plants though, the Palomino was easy being a white grape, the Petite Sirah has smaller leaves and the Alicante has leaves that start to turn purple toward harvest.
Many fine wines originate from grapes on Wood Road and vicinity. It is famous for its ‘old vine’ Zin vineyards. Besides Robert Rue there’s Fanucchi, Hartford and Highwire Vineyard
We are delighted to have a share of this fruit for our single vineyard ‘old vine’ Zinfandels. The vintage of Wine Guerrilla’s Robert Rue Vineyard Zinfandel release is 2011 and it’s a good one!