In the past we've produced two Zinfandel wines, one labeled simply Mendocino
and a premium bottling with an Old Vine
designation. For over a decade we've purchased fruit from several blocks within Al Tollini's and Ed Berry's Zinfandel vineyards, but we have decided to limit wine production to just the three blocks that have produced wine of high enough quality to be labeled as Old Vine
Zinfandel. Most vintages it is a toss-up whether Al's or Ed's best fields win top honors; in these blocks it's not a question of quality, but rather which wine seems more complete that vintage. We gave some thought to bottling Al's and Ed's wines separately as vineyard designate wines, but we think the wines work better in partnership. The vineyards feature many similarities, including a field selection of clones shared by the local Italian immigrants and vines that are all 60 to 90 years old, head-trained without a trellis and planted in Pinole gravelly loam.
We have stainless steel tops for these tanks, but when fermentation is active we place hand-made hoops with a fabric mesh on the top of the tanks. This allows the carbon dioxide and some alcohol to escape, but keeps leaves and critters out.