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Berryessa Gap Vineyards

Yolo County

A story of immigrants, pioneers, farmers and entrepreneurs, Berryessa Gap Vineyards crafts award-winning wines in the historic town of Winters in Yolo County, California.

Berryessa Gap’s connection to the land runs deep with farming roots from both Spanish and German ancestry in Yolo County, California, an under-the-radar wine region nestled in Northern California. While the County is home to a significant agricultural industry, vineyards are still somewhat few and far between in this boutique pocket between Napa Valley and the Sacramento River. Since 2002, Berryessa Gap Vineyards has produced artisan, small-lot wines that reflect the uniqueness and potential of Yolo County terroir, and they hope to continue bringing attention and recognition to the region.

It all started with Dan Martinez, Sr., a first-generation farmer of Spanish immigrants, who planted apricots, almonds, prunes, and walnuts in Winters, California, a charming small town nestled in rural Yolo County. In 1969, Dan partnered with San Francisco winemaker and wine historian Ernest Peninou to develop a grapevine rootstock nursery business, which they named Yolo Hills Viticulture Society. They found that the rich, fertile soil along Putah Creek provided an ideal location for the cultivation of disease-resistant rootstock and began supplying UC Davis-sourced grapevine rootstock to what would become renowned Napa and Sonoma Valley vineyards and beyond.

For thirty years, Dan’s orchards (Martinez Orchards) continued to sell the rootstock to vineyards in neighboring counties, and in 2000, his son Dan Martinez Jr., took the family business to the next level. He partnered with Santiago Moreno, an immigrant from Jalisco, Mexico and longtime farmer at Martinez Orchards, to purchase the Coble Ranch at the crest of rolling hills overlooking Berryessa Gap (a local visual landmark seen for miles around). The business partners planted this never-before-cultivated land to vineyards, hoping to bring regional terroir into focus and produce distinctive Yolo County wines (that were, of course, planted with rootstock grown by Martinez Orchards).

The winery operations began in 2002 in the old Winters Winery facility in downtown Winters (the site is now the location of Berryessa Gap’s expanded Tasting Room). A few years later, the winery expanded and relocated winemaking production to the historic Tufts Ranch, a picturesque setting surrounded by vineyards on the wine country back roads of Winters. Both locations showcase Berryessa Gap’s family farming and viticulture heritage - from rootstock to bottle - as well as their passion for promoting Yolo County and its under-the-radar success with unique, award-winning wines. Cheers!

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