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WE: 92 Blackberry, lilac blossom with shavings of vanilla pod and ground coffee marry perfectly with the refined tannins and gorgeous staying power.
Since 1868, the Mauritson family has been growing grapes in the Dry Creek Valley. Our great-great-great grandfather S.P. Hallengren, a grape growing pioneer in the Rockpile region, first planted vines in 1884, shipping every ounce of his wine back to Sweden. Our family's Rockpile homestead and ranch grew to 4,000 acres by the early 1960s when all but 700 ridgetop acres was acquired by the Army Corps of Engineers in order to develop Lake Sonoma. The vineyards shown in many of our historical family photos are now under water! For the next 30 years, the Rockpile property would serve mostly for sheep grazing.
Our family farming operation moved first to Alexander Valley, then expanded into the benchland of Dry Creek Valley, where we delivered superior fruit for regional winemakers to work with year after year. Still do! Our family currently manages 310 vineyards acres spread across Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley and Rockpile Appellations.
In the mid 1990s, Clay Mauritson returned from college with an unexpected longing to get back in the vineyards. This time, though, along with pruning and picking, Clay was determined to add winemaking to the family operation. Honing his winemaking skills and knowledge of winery operations at Kenwood, Taft Street and Dry Creek Vineyards, Clay was ready in 1998 to release the inaugural Mauritson Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. Clay's wife Carrie soon joined him, leading our marketing and operations support.
Soon after that inaugural release, we took a fresh look at the potential for superior grape growing in the Rockpile region and planted 34 acres to vineyards in eight distinct blocks. The combination of low air moisture, poor soils and moderate temperatures was starting to turn heads. Our family farming operation had come full circle -- and then some!
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