Because of its unique combination of climate and location, the Russian River American Viticultural Area (AVA) in Sonoma County is one of California’s most successful and popular growing wine grape-growing areas. The specific varietals produced from grapes grown in this relatively small region are among the most highly acclaimed.

Situated in the heart of Sonoma County, the Russian River Wine Region is home to 15,000 acres of vineyards and about 70 wineries specializing primarily in the highest quality Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel varietals.

Other grape varieties harvested here are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc. And while produced in limited volumes, Russian River Syrah receives disproportionate acclaim from true wine collectors.

What Makes the Russian River AVA Unique?

Vineyards in the Russian River AVA and its recognized enjoy a somewhat cooler climate than the surrounding growing areas. Although not overly cold, the atmosphere in the area is cooled by the lingering Pacific fog that keeps the sun from warming the air to the same degree as in surrounding AVAs. As a result, cool-climate varieties like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive here, and the quality of these varietals is among the best in the world.

Grapes grown in the Russian River AVA and its principal designated sub-region, Green Valley, have higher acidity and are considered more balanced than those from nearby growing areas. The sparkling wines from the local terroir are also favored for their crispness and quality.

History: Russian River Winery Legends Begin

Viticulture in the Russian River Valley began in 1876 when some newly established wineries began experimenting with the grapes from those first harvests. The first pioneering winemakers were the Santa Rosa Wine Company (1876), Martini & Prati Winery (1880), Korbel Champagne Cellars (1882), and Foppiano Winery (1896). The Korbel Champagne label remains an industry-leading brand today. However, the company has undergone ownership changes since the German-born Korbel Brothers created and developed the company during the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.

Russian River AVAs Recent Evolution

Although many grapes varieties were grown more or less successfully in what would eventually be designated the Russian River AVA in 1983, growers realized early that the Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays produced here would be considered the most highly acclaimed varietals.

Today’s most recognizable Russian River Valley wineries are Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate and Gardens, Rodney Strong, J Vineyards, Korbel Champagne Cellars, and the historic 1890s Russian River Vineyards Winery.

The area is also populated by dozens of unique and interesting boutique wineries in picturesque Russian River settings.

Enjoy Safe, Beautifully Curated Wine Tours of the Russian River AVA

Platypus Wine Tours offers well-coordinated and enjoyable wine tours of select Russian River wineries. Reserve your place for a join-in tour or custom private and group tours.

Guests can enjoy a safe, light-hearted, and comfortable journey through select Russian River wineries while learning interesting details about the art and science of winemaking.

Leave the driving to the professionals at Platypus Wine Tours as you focus on the beautiful landscape, joyful camaraderie, and the excellent wines and accompaniments.

For more information and to make your reservations, visit the Platypus Wine Tours website or phone (707)-253-2723.