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Mendocino Ridge

Gianoli Ranch is located along the beautiful Mendocino Coast Ridge, in Southern Mendocino County. Most locals call this appellation “Islands in the Clouds”, as the non-contiguous peaks rise from clouds of fog, seemingly like islands, bringing uninterrupted sunshine to the scattering of tiny vineyards nestled among Redwood and Douglas fir trees. The region covers more than a quarter-million acres of mountainous land. But only about one-third of this is above the 1,200-foot fog line, the minimum elevation at which land is included within the appellation. Of this eligible land, only a minute fraction is suitable for grape cultivation. Just 75 acres of the entire viticultural area is planted.  The cultivation of vineyards in the Mendocino Ridge began with the first Italian settlers, who came to the area in the late 1800’s to peel tan bark. These Italian immigrants brought with them their grapes of choice: Zinfandels, Muscat, Malvasia and Grenache.

The Vineyard

The Gianoli’s planted about 20 acres of Zinfandel grapes around 1882. A few acres were reestablished in 1997 as a hobby vineyard and produced excellent wines. However the most favored varietal (Pinot Noir) comprised only a small portion.  The farming costs were high due to not following modern planting needs, so the vineyard was removed for possible replanting. Or use the fenced acreage and water systems could be used as you see fit – pasture? Orchards? Or?

The Cantina

Built into the side of the hill, the cantina feels cool and refreshing no matter how warm the outside air is. Presently used for entertaining guests and wine storage, the rustic bar has an old world feel.  On the redwood walls, numerous guests have signed their names over the many decades of it’s existence.


Largest in the US?

The chestnut trees on the ranch were planted by Battista Gianoli, who brought the seeds with him from Italy in the 1880s.

One of these 47 trees was declared the largest chestnut in the United States by the National Register of Big Trees in 1991. At that time, it measured 73 feet tall, and its branches spread 78 feet.

The Gianoli Castagna Celebrations



John Alden