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Sonoma's Russian River Valley

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The Russian River Valley in Sonoma County, named for the regions first settlers and situated southwest of Sonoma's Alexander Valley, is one of California's cooler climate AVAs. Dissected by the Russian River and in the continuous reach of the Pacific Ocean's evening fog, the Russian River Valley AVA hosts many microclimates, making for decent diversity in the grapes grown within the region.

Russian River Valley Wine Varietals:

Considered among the top appellations for growing and bottling cool climate grapes, the Russian River Valley is turning out world class Chardonnay and posh Pinot Noir. In the region's warmer pockets, the microclimates are well suited to bring out the best in Zinfandel. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay thrive in the mild temperatures and longer growing season, where the grapes have the time to mature and develop. The warmer microclimates of the Russian River Valley play host to over 1,400 acres of Zinfandel vines, and produce some very elegant and rich renditions of the grape. Russian River Valley wines enjoy a reputation for delivering, consistent full on flavor with solid acidity and phenomenal balance, with much of the thanks going to the cooler climate's generous growing season.

Visiting the Russian River Valley

With easy access from either the Santa Rosa or San Francisco airport, the Russian River Valley is well worth adding to your wine country itinerary if you are planning a Sonoma County wine excursion. The Russian River region is extraordinarily picturesque, dotted with plenty of quaint towns, thriving vineyards and über friendly tasting rooms. I love that most of the wineries still offer free wine tastings and if there is a fee it's usually pretty reasonable. It's worth calling ahead to set up a tasting appointment (another reason to grab the free travel guide below), just because the hours can be a bit varied depending on the season. There are several well planned driving tours put out by the Russian River Winegrowers association, that are a must view if you are in the trip planning phase. Though if you happen to be the adventurous type, the Russian River Valley is perfect for touring via bike, kayak, hiking or even horseback. There is also a very handy and free Russian River Valley Tour Guide booklet called A River Runs Through Us: A Guide to The Russian River Valley. You can sign up to get your complimentary copy here.

Russian River Valley Wineries

According to the Russian River Valley Winegrowers website, the region is home to over 100 wineries. You'll find that many of the wineries are familiar and include the likes of: DeLoach

Ferrari-Carano Vineyards

Freestone Vineyards

Frei Brothers

Gallo Family Vineyards

Hayman & Hill

Iron Horse Vineyards

J Vineyards

Joseph Swan Vineyards

Kendall-Jackson Wine Center

Kenwood Vineyards

Korbel Champagne Cellars

Limerick Lane

MacMurray Ranch

Martinelli Vineyards

Mirassou Winery

Rodney Strong Vineyards

Toad Hollow

Have a favorite Russian River Valley stop that you'd like to share? Or chime in on your favorite wineries in the Russian River Valley here.

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