A VALLEY RICH IN HISTORY

Well before the Gold Rush of 1849 took place, Russian settlers planted vineyards in the fertile soils of northern Sonoma County along the Pacific Coast.  Subsequent European settlers also recognized that the region’s unique climate and complex puzzle of soils lent themselves to the cultivation of wine grapes. By 1876, wine-growing was well established in the Russian River Valley, with about 5,000 acres under vines.

Larger wineries began to flourish, including The Santa Rosa Wine Company established in 1876, Korbel Champagne Cellars in 1882 and Foppiano Winery in 1896. Then, during Prohibition, the wine industry contracted dramatically.  When Prohibition ended in 1933, few of the region’s wineries remained.

The current grape-growing boom in the Russian River Valley began in the 1960s and in 1983, the Russian River Valley became an Approved Viticultural Area (AVA).  In 2005, the AVA was expanded, adding 30,200 acres of previously overlooked portions of the fog regions.

  • DATE AVA STATUS GRANTED 1983
  • SUB-APPELLATIONS Green Valley
  • MAIN GRAPE TYPES Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
  • VINEYARD ACREAGE 15,000+
  • LOCATION 55 miles north of San Francisco, in western Sonoma County
  • Elevation Sea level to 1,100 feet
  • Distance from Pacific Ocean 15-20 miles on average
  • Length of river 110 miles
  • River Habitat Home to the endangered Coho Salmon
  • Largest Town Sebastopol, 7,596 souls

THE DRAMATIC RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY CLIMATE

This marine-influenced valley is recognized as one of the world’s most ideal regions for growing cool-climate Pinot Noir.  Just a few miles from the cool Pacific, the Russian River Valley benefits from natural air conditioning as cool and often foggy air arrives in the evening, then retreats the following morning.

In summer, the temperature at night often drops 35 to 40 degrees from its daytime high. The result of this climate is a longer growing season (often 15 to 20 percent longer than neighboring regions) which allows Pinot Noir to develop full flavors while retaining its natural acidity.

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Farming a Sense of Place

Recognized as one of the world’s most ideal regions for growing Pinot Noir, the Russian River Valley provides all the ideal elements for crafting a Pinot Noir that is full of ripe fruit flavors and complemented by natural acidity.

THE LEGENDARY GOLDRIDGE SOIL

The matchless soils of the region contribute exponentially to the quality of wine grapes grown. Water flowing off the Sonoma Mountain range has carried with it eroded volcanic rock and ancient, uplifted bedrock, while the Russian River has deposited large amounts of alluvial material into what are now river benchlands. The resulting sandstone produced the Valley’s famous Goldridge loam soil.