Old Oak Vineyard
OLD OAK VINEYARD
In 1976 Pasquale and Leona Mastantuono (shortened to Mastan) purchased 65 acres on Willow Creek from Ernie and Ina Beth Claassen who had inherited the property from their parents. The Mastons secured Zinfandel cuttings from the Paul Mason Vineyard in Soledad supplemented with some cuttings from Geno’s Nursery in Madera and planted them in 1977. They also developed what became the Mastantuono Winery on the property which was the 5th winery in the Paso Robles AVA.
The original vineyard was planted on 12’ x 12’ spacing and consisted of 12.9 acres of dry farmed, head pruned Zinfandel. This vineyard is still producing delicious and highly sought after fruit nearly 40 years later. A re-plant program has been in effect for the past 7 years as older or diseased plants have died. Of interest is that a number of interspersed Alicante Bouschet Noir plants have been discovered. Alicante with red juice and thick skins provided added benefits to the Zinfandel harvest.
Cathy and Dave Colmar were the owners of a 40 acre ranch on Willow Creek with 15 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon. Old Oak Vineyard was appropriately named after a beautiful and enormous live oak estimated to be in excess of 500 years of age which still stands proudly at the top of the hill.
When Leona Mastan listed her property on the market in early 2007 the Colmars purchased the ranch , sold their ranch, moved a mile down the road on Willow Creek. The entrance to the property is lined with a canapé of beautiful oaks (although none as old as the original) along Sheep Camp Creek and the property quickly became a passion and a project for the Colmars while retaining the name.
In 2007 an improvement program for the Zinfandel as well as a total overall development plan was created. Lone Madrone began acquiring Zinfandel in 2008 and with a guiding hand from Neil Collins, an additional 18 acres was planted in 2010. Five acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and Rhones including Syrah, Grenache Noir, Picpoul Blanc, Mourvedre, Grenache Blanc and Counoise were planted. With the exception of Syrah all of the other Rhones are planted on an 11’ x 11’ diamond dry farmed and head pruned. 2014 is the 2nd year of production for these new plants.
Running through Old Oak Vineyard is Sheepcamp Creek. Is it any wonder then that the always fertile and creative mind of Neil Collins would do anything other than name the Zinfandel Sheepcamp Creek? Then, to piggy back on the “sheep” theme Neil created a blend of Grenache Blanc and Picpoul Blanc to be called what else ….Oveja! (Spanish for sheep) One can hardly wait to see how Neil’s sense of humor will be applied in the years to come.