Situated eight miles south of Hollister and twenty-five miles east of Monterey Bay in San Benito County, the estate vineyard is cradled in its own private valley, whose unique combination of soil, climate and geography produces grapes and wine of uncommon character, Cienega Valley became wine country in 1850, when Frenchman Theophile Vache planted the region's first vineyards When Joseph Gimelli purchased the 455 acres surrounding the Dickinson house in 1989, the adjacent vineyards had not been tended for three years and were overrun by wild boar. Gimelli planted nearly 100 acres to Merlot, Sangiovese and Dolcetto, preserving only a one-acre block of Zinfandel and ten acres of Cabernet Sauvignon from previous plantings. Pietra Santa (named by Gimelli for the unusual limestone and granite soils) harvested its first vintage in 1992, under the supervision of Winemaker Alessio Carli, whose broad winemaking experience in Tuscany complements the estate's focus on Italian grape varieties. The first wines from Pietra Santa were released in 1994.
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