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In 1988, Pat DeRose bought part of the old Almaden property from Hublein. He immediately began revitalizing the vineyard and planting new vines. DeRose owns some of the last remaining Negrette vines in the world. They are over 120 years old. The winery also specializes in Zinfandel and Cabernet Franc.

DeRose Vineyards owned by the DeRose and Cedolini Families. The property is located in the Cienega Valley AVA in San Benito County. This wine region is south of the San Francisco Bay Area and east of Monterey County.

In 1851, Theophile Vache planted the first vines on the property. William Palmtag bought the vineyard in 1880. Palmtag was a respected vintner and won many awards for his wines.

The land was subsequently owned by a handful of individuals before the wine producing giant Almaden bought it in 1953. Almaden grew red grapes on the property for several decades until selling to Hublein in 1987.

The following year, the DeRose and Cedolini Families established their winery. They originally made only a few hundred cases of wine but have since increased their production to 5,000 cases a year from about 100 acres of vines. The vines are carefully maintained and pruned to minimize the canopy and maximize sun exposure. Irrigation is rarely used in the vineyard, and the majority of the vines are dry farmed. The grapes are planted in sandy-loam soil on hillsides.

At first, the wine was bottled under the Cienega Valley Winery label. But in 1993, the name was changed to DeRose Vineyards. Winemaker Pat DeRose currently makes Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Viognier, and a rare grape named Negrette. Most of their wines undergo oak aging, and filtering is eschewed.

There are only a handful of Negrette vines known to survive in the entire world. They were planted during the 1890s and are extremely low yielding. Only about a half ton of grapes are produced per acre. These vines are planted on their own rootstocks and are spur pruned. This little known varietal has been called Pinot St. George in the past.

DeRose’s property contains 15 acres of old vine Zinfandel that were also planted during the 1890s. Additionally, the winery owns about 3 acres of very old Viognier vines. This is truly an asset as Viognier vines of this age are extremely rare in California. They also make a very nice Cabernet Franc. DeRose currently sells a little less than half of its fruit and vinifies the rest.

The San Andreas Fault runs through the property, making DeRose Vineyards very prone to seismological activity. There is actually a crack in the tasting room floor from the fault. Tours and tastings are by appointment only.

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