Sonoma

Alexander Valley
– Climate:  Maritime climate with both coastal and inland elements; moderately warm with cool breezes and night time fog.
– Elevation: 200 to 2000 ft
– Soil: Ranges from volcanic ash, to more sedimentary, to gravelly alluvial fans.
– With a long and consistent growing season, this valley produces rich, classic Cabernet Sauvignon and crisp Chardonnays.

Bennett Valley
– Climate:  Temperamentally cool climate and extended growing season, cool temperatures helps maintain natural acidity.
– Elevation:  Varies widely from a low of 250 ft to high of 1850 ft.
– Soil is steeply sloped and rocky; volcanic and clay based soil, good drainage
– Combination of climate and soil result in more concentrated and intensely flavored grapes
– Full-flavored, deep Merlot is the main product
– Typically harvests later than other sub appellations

Chalk Hill
– Two distinct areas of Chalk Hill, Russian River Valley on the west and Alexander Valley to the NEast (west is cooler, east is warmer)
– Overall warm, mild climate due to a thermal belt; higher elevation protects grapes from lingering fog
– Elevation: 200 – 1300 ft
– Soil varies from shallow/thin or Chalky, white volcanic soil/gravelly with lower fertility in higher elevations
– Environment is great for white wines such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc; increase lately in Reds like Cabernets, Malbec and Merlot
– Often harvest is about a month earlier than others in Sonoma

Dry Creek Valley
– Climate is a good mix between marine and inland currents(Mediterranean); moderately warm but with morning fog
– Soil is rocky and stony – good for creating concentrated fruit flavors and aromas;
– Region produces wide variety of wines ranging from Zinfandels, Bordeaux and other Mediterranean blends – Synonymous for Zinfandels

Green Valley
– Climate trademark is fog; Green Valley is the first place fog lands in Sonoma and last place leaving so this region; experiences cooler temperatures for longer
– Diurnal temperature ranging from low 50s°F to mid-80s°F during peak growing season
– Soil in this valley, Goldridge, is the most sought-after in Sonoma for growing Pinot Noirs
– Yellow sandy loam and fractured sandstone
– Chardonnay is crisp, fruity with complex citrus; Pinot Noirs are rich with earthiness and sweet spiciness

Knights Valley
– Dry and hot during the day, cool nights (one of the warmest regions in Sonoma)
– Alluvial, rocky soil
– Mountain side wineries allow for protection from marine influence
– Soil allows for Sauvignon Blanc to flourish with melon and fig flavors, as well Cabs, Malbec, Merlots and Petit Verdot

Rockpile
– Elevations: 800 to 2,100 ft (95% vineyards 1000+ ft), Rainfall: 50 – 70 in annually
– Planting higher than the fog belt allows for great sun and wind exposure
– Climate is warm and sunny, with a continuous breeze – meaning riper and more flavorful grapes ; typically 10°F cooler than surrounding regions
– Soil is loam or clay loam with red/brown color, high oxidation; steep slopes with poor water retention
– Varietals include Zinfandels, Petit Sirah, Syrah, and Cabs – typically porto types

Russian River Valley
– Climate in this AVA have a constant flow of cooling fog from the Pacific. This “A/C” system allows for an extended growing season with full flavored grapes with natural acidity
– Typical growing season is 15 -20% longer than other Sonoma AVAs
– Fertile, yet alluvial soil
– Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the most planted variety; others include Zinfandels and Merlots

Sonoma Coast
– Cool climate, higher than average rainfall(can reach 160+ in. wet year), daily fog cools some of the region, high elevation does allow for lots of sunlight
– Soils vary but are typically poor clay, rock or gravel – results in excellent, rich grapes
– Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah

Sonoma Mountain
– Moderate climate allows for long growing season in which grapes can fully ripen and develop
– Soil varies, but is of volcanic origin with some marine deposits, well drained
– Peak elevation: 2400 ft, located above both morning and evening fog belts
– Well drained soil – good for Cabernet Sauvignon
– Uneven terrain creates individual microclimates suitable especially for Cabernet, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillons and Zinfandels

Sonoma Valley
– Climate consists of warm days, cool breezy evenings
– Southern portion of county surrounded by two mountains which protect the valley from the cooling aspects of the Pacific as well from excessive rainfall; wind from North to South prolongs the growing process and helps balance the flavor
– Soils vary just as the terrain does; in the valley there is higher fertility and good water retention, whereas on the hillsides it is rock, with lower fertility and good water drainage
– Valley’s various soil, terrain and mild climate allows for successful crops of many varieties including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel