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The History of Zinfandel Production on Mendocino Ridge

Traditionally valuing hillside vineyards, they planted Zinfandel, Alicante-Bouschet, Malvasia, Muscat, Carignane and Palomino. There is evidence that cuttings for their vineyards were purchased in Sonoma County. Vineyard acreage steadily grew on the mountainous ridges. They were concentrated along Greenwood Ridge and Fish Rock Road.

The Italian-Americans worked hard developing the land for viticultural production. In the years immediately preceding Prohibition, there were about 400 acres of vineyards in the region.

Fortunately, Prohibition did not entirely dismantle the isolated region’s homemade wine production and limited local sales. The Padini Family moved to Greenwood Ridge in 1922 and actually expanded their newly acquired property’s existing vineyards.

However, by the end of Prohibition, only 3 of the original old-vine vineyards remained. These 3 groups of vines are still producing some of the best Zinfandel in the state to this day. Amazingly, the Zeni and Ciapusci Vineyards are still owned by the original Italian families. The Dupratt Vineyard is the third and is approaching its 90th birthday (planted in 1916).

The other three vineyards in the region were planted in the last quarter century. They are the Greenwood Ridge, Mariah and Alden Ranch Vineyards. Greenwood Ridge Vineyards and Edmeades Estate are currently the only 2 wineries in the Mendocino Ridge. They are both renowned for their wine production. Few other California AVAs have a comparable historical legacy that is still alive to this day.

> Mendocino Ridge Wineries

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