Family Owned and Operated

Fred 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.

The name of the winery was chosen by the name Alberta's father, of Italian descent, used to call her as a little girl: Albertina

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.

The 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 wood ashes.

A 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!

The 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.

Our Wine

Albertina 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.

The 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 before releasing.

The 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.

Our Philosophy

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.


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