Raise A Glass To 150 Years Of Martinelli’s Ciders & Juices

Sponsored By: Visit Santa Cruz

Martinellis Company Store Photo Credit Garrick Ramirez 1

(Photo by Garrick Ramirez)

Beloved sparkling cider and apple juice producer S. Martinelli & Company is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2018, and we’re bubbling over with excitement! Founded in Watsonville in 1868 — the same year Ulysses S. Grant was elected president — the effervescent company is still family owned, locally based, and making juice the way it always has: fresh and 100 percent natural. We’ve got the inside scoop below, and trust us, it gets juicy!

Martinellis Company Store Photo Credit Garrick Ramirez 2

(Photo by Garrick Ramirez)

It’s likely you were introduced to Martinelli’s via the iconic, coveted, apple-shaped glass bottle you begged your mom to buy on trips to the market. Then at Thanksgiving, you felt so cool filling your child’s cup with sparkling cider from a Champagne-style bottle … pinky up! You weren’t alone. It’s believed that Dean Martin would swig Martinelli’s — not martinis — onstage, and Martinelli’s cider doubled as Champagne in Hollywood movies during Prohibition.

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(Photo courtesy of S. Martinelli's & Co.)

But before the Rat Pack and the 18th amendment, there were the Swiss-born brothers, Stephano and Luigi Martinelli, who immigrated to the U.S. during the Gold Rush years and started farming apples in present-day Watsonville, just south of Santa Cruz, Calif. They introduced a fermented, or “hard,” cider in 1868, and by 1885, they were churning out 15,000 gallons a year (fast forward to 2017, Martinelli’s produced that much in less than two hours). The brothers began racking up gold medals for their cider at state fairs, which explains the medals you see on the labels today. In anticipation of Prohibition, Martinelli’s bottled its first unfermented — alcohol-free — apple juice in 1917. In 1933, the brand introduced its famous apple-shaped glass bottle with the slogan “Drink Your Apple a Day,” and the rest is history.

Martinellis Company Store Photo Credit Garrick Ramirez 3

(Photo by Garrick Ramirez)

Turns out, Martinelli’s was way ahead of its time, doing the local-artisan, farm-to-bottle thing. To this day, Martinelli’s produces fresh juices without any preservatives or sweeteners. Go ahead, pick up a bottle and count the ingredients: It’s just juice. No mystery ingredients or unpronounceable words. It’s why mom let you drink your apple a day.

Screen Shot 2018 10 19 at 5.06.01 PM

(Photo courtesy of S. Martinelli's & Co.)

During the early 20th century, that juice was hauled around in a classy 1932 Ford Model B truck with a giant cider bottle attached. In celebration of its 150th anniversary, Martinelli’s completely restored the truck for public appearances at local events throughout Northern California.

“This truck dates back to my grandfather’s era and was originally used for hauling apples and delivering juice to customers,” says John Martinelli, CEO and fourth-generation family member. “Using old photos as our guide, we restored the truck to look like it did 86 years ago.”

Martinellis Company Store Photo Credit Garrick Ramirez 5

(Photo by Garrick Ramirez)

Martinelli’s also slapped a special edition label on its sparkling cider, which you can nab at the memorabilia-filled Martinelli Company Store in Watsonville. Grab a stool at the wooden bar, where you’ll be treated to complimentary samples and introduced to the company’s many other tantalizing flavors, including sparkling juice blends of mango, marionberry, and pomegranate.

Martinellis Company Store Photo Credit Garrick Ramirez 4

(Photo by Garrick Ramirez)

Fun fact: It takes two apples to make one 10-ounce bottle of apple juice, but Martinelli’s juice actually is a blend of freshly pressed, locally grown apples, including Newtown Pippin, Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Jonagold, Mutsu, and Honeycrisp. After being pasteurized, the juice is allowed to cool in the bottle to retain its naturally fresh flavor.

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(Photo courtesy of S. Martinelli's & Co.)

And because we know you’re dying to ask, what about the hard stuff? To commemorate its 150th year, Martinelli’s launched a brand-new hard cider that, like its prized juice, is made from fresh apples. For now, you can find it exclusively at Northern California Costco stores. So who’s ready to start drinking more apples?

Giveaway Alert: Two lucky winners will receive one weekend pass each to Wellness Weekend, November 9-11, 2018. Sweepstakes to be held October 13-27, 2018.

WRITTEN BY ANNORA MCGARRY

PHOTOS COURTESY OF GRANLIBAKKEN LAKE TAHOE

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Don’t let this season get you down — use it as a time before the rush of the holidays to reset your wellness goals and connect with like-minded people. The seventh annual Lake Tahoe Wellness Weekend features three days of mindfulness in the Sierra Nevada, Nov. 9-11. Immerse yourself in an educational seminar, or grow in your practice with a movement workshop. Wellness Weekend features two tracks of classes, movement and lecture-based, creating a unique fusion that is designed to rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit.

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In Truckee, it's been an active summer for restaurant openings and expansions, and several new offerings away from the main downtown area are drawing attention, including Drink Coffee, Do Stuff and Truckee Brewing Co. on Pioneer Trail. DCDS is the new endeavor from retired pro snowboarder Nick Visconti, who developed a love for coffee while sampling Swiss cappuccinos, espressos, artisan coffees, and more on a ski trip to the Alps. He spent five years on roasting apprenticeships with various Pacific Northwest coffee roasters, determined to roast his own coffee in his hometown. Now, DCDS brews seven various light and dark offerings, as well as a decaf, and is open for visits every day from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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Nick Visconti, owner of Drink Coffee, Do Stuff. Courtesy photo

 

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COURTESY OF NEVADA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE

From the business skill sets needed to be a modern farmer, to Nevada's newest, and perhaps most controversial, cash crop, the Nevada Economic Development Conference is offering a unique behind-the-scene's glimpse at our local agribusiness economy. 

Edible Communities is a media sponsor for the Agribusiness track for the fourth annual event presented by the Western Nevada Development District that will take place Aug-20-22 at the Atlantis Casino Resort & Spa in Reno, Nevada. Registration and information is available at www.nvedc.com.

The agribusiness sessions will let you meet some of the creative minds that are necessary to solve our growing need for sustainable and affordable food sources, a topic we addressed in this summer's edible Reno-Tahoe magazine.  

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STORY AND PHOTOS BY JENNIFER RACHEL BAUMER

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