Florence Vineyard – starting a new American Viticultural Area

Florence Vineyard – starting a new American Viticultural Area

Making the dream of the Rockpile appellation become a reality in California.

Type Virtual Tasting
Virtual platform
Tags california wine / virtual tasting / wine / zinfandel


Join us for a special virtual tasting with a California wine pioneer, Jack Florence, jr. Jack planted the first Zinfandel wines in what would become the new Rockpile AVA in 1994, bringing cuttings from the famous St. Peters’ Church vineyard, and working with Kent Rosenblum to produce wines that immediately garnered attention. Jack went on to plant several neighboring vineyards through the 1990s, using the same clone of Zinfandel, and resulting in the Rockpile appellation having such a consistent and recognizable character, that calls began for the creation of a new appellation (AVA).
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  • Sonoma County’s Rockpile AVA is located high above the Dry Creek Valley.
  • The terroir of Rockpile is made in part by the deep, 2,500 acre Lake Sonoma reservoir.
  • Rockpile is Zinfandel country.
  • Its Zin grapes are legendary, while it is also home to some other red varietals, namely Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Sauvignon.


  • Jack first drove out Rockpile Road in 1992, and was immediately impressed by the quiet, rugged, mountainous beauty of this no-man’s-land.
  • He was 29, and after six years in the vineyard management business, he was looking for a place of his own.
  • He knew that tall grass and Redwood trees were a sign of good soil, and that this  location, 1200 feet above sea level, had many benefits to offer.


  • 2020 Rockpile Zinfandel
  • 2020 Rockpile Petit Sirah


  • Since 2016 Jack has worked to supply some excellent winemakers with his Zinfandel and Petit Sirah grapes: Wilson Artisan Wines, Mazzocco Winery, Pezzi King Vineyards, Rockpile Vineyard, Carol Shelton Wines, Simoncini Winery, and the Hess Collection.
  • Jack’s 2020 vintages were made at Mazzocco Winery, by winemaker Antoine Favero.