Located in the Cucamonga Valley in southern California 70 miles inland from Los Angeles, Jose Lopez Vineyard was planted in 1918 for “packing grapes” to ship to home winemakers in Chicago and the East. These old Zinfandel vines struggle in the near desert-like conditions; with rocky-sandy soil that holds very little water. After nine decades, they have only grown to about 18 inches tall, and have just a few tiny fist-sized clusters on each vine.
Many of the old vineyards in this valley have fallen victim to urban sprawl. We are fortunate that Don Galleano is passionate about keeping this old vineyard alive despite its rather poor economic returns—only a half a ton per acre instead of the expected 2-4 tons per acre of younger, irrigated vineyards. Through Don’s dedicated efforts, this vineyard passed the rigid CCOF standards in 2004, and is officially organically grown.
Grower: Don Galleano
Soil Type: Desert sand and rock for the top 20-30 feet, then a bit of loam as it gets closer to water table
Appellation: Cucamonga Valley, San Bernardino Co
Year Planted: 1918
Clones: Who knows
Rootstock: On its OWN roots, going down 30-50 feet to get water!
Vine Training: Bush? YES, 2-3 feet tall at best, look like pygmies.
Pruning System: 2-bud spurs, if lucky enough to get two buds?
Irrigation Type: No, none available. When first planted it was watered by buckets out of horse drawn wagon.
Average Crop Yield in Tons/Acre: 0.15-0.4