[blue_large]Sonoma County AVAs[/blue_large]
[blue_large]Sonoma County AVAs[/blue_large]
The Alexander Valley AVA is one of the most densely planted of all of Sonoma County’s AVAs. Located along the Russian River, the boundary of this appellation extends north of Healdsburg up to Mendocino County north of Cloverdale. Viticulture has existed in the area since the 1850s but the wine industry has only fairly recently experienced success beginning in the 1960s with Simi Winery. Significant purchases of vineyard land by E & J Gallo Winery in 1988 and Kendall-Jackson in 1996 also raised the profile of the Alexander Valley. The profile of Alexander Valley wines has historically centered around the approachability and richness of the wines with Cabernet Sauvignon being noted for characteristic chocolate notes and warm mouthfeel. After Cabernet, Chardonnay is one of the leading varietal plantings followed by Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel.
The Bennett Valley AVA is one of Sonoma County’s newest AVAs and is a principal grape supplier to Kendall-Jackson. The AVA is surrounded to the south, east and west by the Sonoma Mountains and to the north by the city of Santa Rosa. The region receives a moderating effect on its climate from Pacific Ocean through the cool coastal fogs and breeze that creep into the area from the southwest through Crane Canyon between Sonoma Mountain and Taylor Mountain.
The Chalk Hill AVA is a sub-appellation of the Russian River Valley located near the town of Windsor along the foothills at the southern end of Alexander Valley and along the Santa Rosa plain. The name Chalk Hill comes from the unique volcanic soil of chalky white ash which has shown itself to perform well with planting of white wine varietals like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The majority of the region’s wineries are located on the western slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains.
Dry Creek Valley
The Dry Creek Valley AVA in the Russian River Valley centers around the Dry Creek, a tributary of the Russian River, and is approximately 16 miles (25.7 km) long and 2 miles (3.2 km) wide. The appellation is known particularly for its Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel production. Dry Creek Valley AVA is home to the majority of the Sonoma Gallo vineyards, who established winery facilities in the valley in the early 1990s.
The Green Valley of Russian River Valley AVA (formerly Sonoma County Green Valley AVA) is an American Viticultural Area in Sonoma County, California, USA. Located at the southwestern corner of the Russian River Valley AVA, its close proximity to the Pacific Ocean makes it one of the coolest appellations within Sonoma County. The climate in the Green Valley is even cooler than other parts of the Russian River Valley, and favors the cultivation of cool climate varietals like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer.
The Knights Valley AVA occupies the boundaries between the southern end of the Alexander Valley AVA and the northern end of Napa Valley. Some of the earliest vineyards in the area was owned by Beringer Vineyards. The area is known for its Cabernet Sauvignon.
Los Carneros AVA (also known as Carneros AVA) includes parts of both Sonoma and Napa counties in California, U.S.A.. It is located north of San Pablo Bay. The proximity to the cool fog and breezes from the bay makes the climate in Los Carneros cooler and more moderate than the wine regions further north in Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley. The cooler climate has made Los Carneros attractive for the cultivation of cooler climate varietals like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Many of the grapes grown in Los Carneros are used for sparkling wine production. Receiving its AVA status in 1983, the Carneros area was the first wine region in California to be defined by its climate characteristics rather than political boundaries.
The Northern Sonoma AVA is an all encompassing appellation that covers all of Sonoma County with the exception of the Sonoma Valley and some areas of the Petaluma River watershed. The AVA was proposed by E & J Gallo to accommodate wines made from a blend of grapes from scattered vineyards in Sonoma County.
The Rockpile AVA is situated at the northwest point of the Dry Creek Valley AVA, past Healdsburg. The area was first planted by Italian immigrants at the turn of the 20th century. Many of today’s vineyards were formerly occupied by a reservoir created by the Warm Springs Dam on the Russian River. The area is known for its fruity, ripe Zinfandels.
Russian River Valley
Russian River Valley AVA lies adjacent to and west of the city of Santa Rosa and incorporates the southern reach of the Russian River, where the river bends westward and cuts through the Coast Range to the Pacific Ocean. The AVA is characterized by the regular intrusion of cooling fog from the coast. The fog flows through the Petaluma Wind Gap and the channel cut by the river. The fog generally arrives in the evening or early morning and retreats before noon in the day. The appellation was granted AVA status in 1983 and accounts for about one-sixth of the total planted vineyard acreage in Sonoma County. In 2005 the AVA was expanded by 30,200 acres (122 km2) to 126,600 by recognizing previously overlooked portions of the fog regions. Presently the Russian River AVA includes more than 15,000 acres (61 km2) planted to wine grapes. At last count, 79 wineries were listed in the Russian River Valley Winegrowers website. The area is known for its success with cool climate varietals, notably Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Sonoma Coast AVA contains more than 500,000 acres (2,000 km2), mostly along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean. It extends from San Pablo Bay to the border with Mendocino County. The appellation is known for its cool climate and high rainfall relative to other parts of Sonoma County. Pinot Noir grapes grow especially well in this region, where they benefit from slightly cooler day temperatures.
Sonoma Valley AVA is known for its unique terroir with Sonoma Mountain protecting the area from the wet and cool influence of the nearby Pacific Ocean. The Sonoma Mountains to the west help protect the valley from excessive rainfall. The cool air that does affect the region comes northward from San Pablo Bay through the Carneros region and southward from the Santa Rosa plain. Sonoma Valley has played a significant role in the history of California wine.
Sonoma Mountain AVA, in the Sonoma Mountains, includes the town of Glen Ellen and is bordered on the west by the Sonoma Valley AVA. The area is known for the diverse micro-climates that occur within the crevices and folds of the hillside terrain and as such is home to production for a wide range of varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Zinfandel.