Albertina Wine Cellars
Bordeaux-style wines that are now garnering awards throughout the state
Owned by Fred and Alberta Zmarzly, Albertina Wine Cellars specializes in producing rich, Bordeaux-style wines from the hillsides of Mendocino. Their 418-acre estate ranch property sits on the north side of a mountain slope, west of Hopland, California, with sprawling panoramic views of Duncan Peak and Stony Point. While Fred manages the 17-acre vineyard (planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot), Greg Graziano and Penny Gadd Coster share winemaking responsibilities, and Alberta maintains the property’s extensive rose bushes and vegetable/herb garden set within the vineyard.
Fred Zmarzly originally came to California after college to work as an aerospace engineer in Sunnyvale. After spending a number of years building spy satellites for a global defense, security and advanced technology company, he yearned for a simpler (and less secretive) lifestyle. The bucolic hills of nearby Mendocino seemed to offer just what he was looking for.
In 1983, Fred and his wife Alberta found their beautiful Mendocino ranch property and, for years, used it as a relaxing getaway and a place for Alberta to reconnect with her rural roots (her father and grandfather were Italian-American hog farmers in Contra Costa County). Eventually, the Zmarzlys’ close proximity to wine country sparked their interest in planting a vineyard and they both agreed it would be a good retirement project. Fred took viticulture classes in 1999, and by 2002, had planted 17 acres to comprise the Zmarzly Family Vineyards. It wasn’t long before they wanted to make their own wines, and in 2004, the inaugural vintage of Albertina Wine Cellars was made. The name Albertina was Alberta’s childhood nickname, given to her by her Italian father.
Since Albertina Wine Cellars’ first release, the winery has grown slowly to produce an annual 1,500 cases of artisan Bordeaux-style wines that are now garnering awards throughout the state.