Boatman Graveyard

Blog Post

October 2022

Graveyard Block & its Role in Alexander Valley

Graveyard Block at Boatman Ranch

The Graveyard Block at Boatman Ranch sits at the top of the property, overlooking the ranch, Alexander Valley, and the Mayacamas mountain range. The graveyard, known as the Long Ranch Family Cemetery, dates back to 1883 and is the resting place for fourteen of Alexander Valley’s early settlers. Prompted by the gold rush, the Long Family moved to California from Ohio in 1853 with a covered wagon and a team of oxen in search of a better life.

They eventually settled on a 240-acre homestead north of Litton Springs (the historic resort property which sits next to our current day winery) in Alexander Valley. Today, in addition to Boatman Ranch, you’ll find the Fredson, Meyer, Lampson and Coppola Winery properties within the boundaries of the original 240-acre homestead. The homesteaders were incredibly hard-working and resourceful, building a blacksmith shop, water tank, windmill, multiple cabins, and digging a well without the assistance of heavy machinery. They also planted some of the earliest grapevines in Sonoma County, 20 acres of low-yielding zinfandel vines dating back to 1889. Over 130 years later, Tim Boatman is writing the next chapter at this special site, developing and managing a vineyard that produces zinfandel of immense character through his own perseverance and determination.

History of Boatman Ranch

Tim Boatman’s grandparents, Emilia & Eugene Moretti, emigrated from the small mountain town of San Pellegrinetto, Italy in the early 1900s. In 1935, they acquired a fifty-acre ranch that sits in the hills on the border of Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley. When Eugene passed away he left the property to Tim’s mother and uncle. Tim purchased the property from them in the mid-sixties, when he was only nineteen years old. The ranch was undeveloped at the time with no roads, water, or power.

When Tim’s father died tragically in a machinery accident, he left Tim a bulldozer and an old pickup truck. The bulldozer proved instrumental in the future of the ranch. Based on his grandparent’s roots, surrounded by terraced vineyards in the mountains of Italy, Tim had a vision to plant and grow grapes on the hillsides of the property and began developing and planting the ranch in 1972. The vineyard is remarkably steep with the various blocks carved out of the mountain by Tim himself. Tim notes: “Once you cut the ground, you’re married to it.  It’s a done deal, you can’t do it over again. You better get it right. It’s like having a baby. You make it, you take care of it.”

Boatman Ranch in Sonoma

What Makes this Bottling Unique?

The Graveyard Block rests atop the Boatman Ranch. Already rugged soils become incredibly rocky and less fertile as you rise up the terraces to the top of the property. Tim draws a powerful parallel between experiencing challenges and character development, “I find people who have experienced hardship and been pushed to the brink to have the most character. It’s the same with grapes.” Boatman Graveyard delivers on character developed from these rocky terraced hillside soils, producing rich, full-bodied wines of great finesse.

2019 Boatman Graveyard Zinfandel

The 2019 vintage marks the first single-block bottling of Boatman Graveyard. This extremely limited-production (just 8 barrels produced) wine is available exclusively to wine club members.

2019 Boatman Graveyard

Winemaker Tasting Notes: “Floral, raspberry aromas and subtle oak toast. Medium to full bodied, soft, elegant tannins, fresh plum and chapparal with a long finish”. JO (7/22)


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