Owned and Operated
and Alberta Zmarzly own a 418 acre ranch on the side of a
mountain, west of Hopland, CA. The 17 acre vineyard on the
ranch is planted mostly with Cabernet Sauvignon vines; the
balance of the vines are Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit
Verdot. Fred operates the vineyard, performing such tasks
as driving the tractor, mowing, weeding, fertilizing and maintaining
the irrigation system and equipment on the ranch. Alberta
has planted rose bushes at the ends of many of the vine rows,
pruning them so that they show flowers most of the year. She
also maintains a vegetable and herb garden within the vineyard.
name of the winery was chosen by the name Alberta's father,
of Italian descent, used to call her as a little girl: Albertina
Wine Cellars is a boutique winery specializing in ultra-premium
Cabernet Sauvignon wines made from mountain grapes. The current
production is less than 1500 cases per year with plans to
increase production ultimately to 3000 cases per year.
vineyard is on the north side of the mountain slope, offering
a unique terroir and microclimate with warm days and cool
nights. Afternoon summer breezes cool the vineyard; the peak
afternoon temperatures are 3 to 5 degrees cooler than the
valley floor. The degree-days of the vineyard is 3200, in
Region 3 of the grape-growing classified areas in California,
ideal for growing Cabernet Sauvignon. The soil in the vineyard
is red loam, about 3' to 6' deep, over fractured sandstone.
It is well drained, with low to moderate fertility. Soil tests
performed have shown good humus levels and sufficient levels
of natural nitrogen and potassium. The phosphorus levels are
a little low but are supplemented with rock phosphorus and
total of about 17,000 vines have been planted for a vine density
of 1000 vines per acre. Most rows in the vineyard are 8 feet
wide while the vines are planted 5 feet apart. The latest
trellis technology has been employed to grow grapes of terrific
quality. A Vertical Shoot Position (VSP) trellis system, with
its movable wires, gently guide the growing shoots vertically
in order to expose the leaves and berry clusters to the sun.
It has been demonstrated that berry clusters that are exposed
to sunlight produce more phenols and colors, resulting in
superior tasting wines. No insecticides ever used!
vines are irrigated with a drip system that is supplied by
an entirely gravity-fed irrigation system. A 30 acre-foot
pond high above the vineyard supplies water to the vines.
No electricity is used to pump the water; the water just flows
down-hill through pipes to the vineyard.
Wine Cellars specializes in ultra-premium limited-production
Cabernet Sauvignon wines made from mountain grapes. Since
mountain grapes produce softer tannins and smaller berries
in the cluster, the flavors and colors are more intense.
fruit is picked at the peak of ripeness, and extended maceration
is used to ferment the wine completely to dryness before pressing.
This keeps the pulp and the skins in contact with the juice,
allowing complete extraction of the colors and flavors. The
wine is aged in French, American and Hungarian oak barrels
for over 20 months. After aging in barrels, the wine is bottle-aged
wine is fruit-forward in taste with berry flavors, not over-oaked
and very drinkable. Having been bottle-aged before release,
it is not necessary for the consumer to bottle-age the wine
before enjoying it; the wine will, however, continue to improve
in the bottle for many years.
The most important asset in the vineyard is the soil itself.
The red loam soil and microclimate of the mountain ranch conspire
to produce fruit of the highest quality, unique for the terrior.
Sustainable and non-certified organic viticulture practices
are used to allow the vines to express themselves and grow
in a balanced manner. In addition, re-cycling is done as much
as possible in the vineyard, the winery and in the Zmarzly
household. Albertina Wine Cellars ships the wine in recyclable
molded pulp packaging.