Charles Ranch

Fort Ross-Seaview

This vineyard was the 2nd vineyard to be planted on the far Sonoma Coast, in Fort Ross – Seaview AVA. George Charles (Carolyn Martinelli’s father) planted it to many people’s disbelief that grapes could ripen out there. The Ag Commission didn’t want to give George a permit to plant because they didn’t believe grapes would grow out there in the cooler temperatures. He did it anyway. He planted this vineyard on what was originally called by our family “Buffalo Hill.” George being a rancher at heart, had several bison. They were mean but beautiful. Eventually he had to give them up b/c they were too mean and he needed the pasture to plant his vineyard. Once George planted his chardonnay on this hill, he used his horse to sulfur the vines. He didn’t have a tractor, as sheep ranchers use horseback. So he put blinders on his horse, and shook burlap sacks of sulfur over the vines as he rode down each row. Its what he knew, using what he had and making a go of it. He also didn’t think his sheep would ever eat grapes. Until one day during harvest the sheep, which roamed freely, walked up to the picking bins and started eating the ripe grapes, George’s jaw dropped. He realized it was probably better to fence the vineyard from the sheep going forward.


Fort Ross-Seaview
Varietals Planted
Soil Information
Josephine and Goldridge
Soil characteristics
Well drained and some clay loam
AXR and St. George
Wente and 04
Year Acquired
Year Planted