Russian River Valley

In an effort to shed some light on how I study for WSET Diploma Course’s D3 exam, Le Club des Vins is running a series of posts covering wine regions. Today’s topic: Russian River Valley

📍 Location

Russian River Valley is located in Sonoma, it’s part of both Northern Sonoma AVA and Sonoma County AVA, but it is in itself also an AVA and contains two AVAs (:D): Green Valley of Russian River Valley AVA and Chalk Hill AVA. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

In a nutshell

  • USA, Sonoma
  • Very diverse climate
  • From pinot noir till zinfandel

☁️ Climate

Very diverse! From moderate to warm. The southern and western part, where Green Valley is situated, is the coolest (one of the coolest areas of California!), as they benefit from the winds and fogs coming from the Petaluma Gap, a break in the Northern Coast Range. It’s a lot warmer upnorth and inland, Chalk Hill is located in the northeast corner and receives far less cool fogs.⠀

🌋 Soils

Soils are varied, but mostly low in nutrients and well-draining like sandstone. Green Valley possesses a special type of sandy loam called ‘Goldridge’ and its pinot noirs from this terroir are quite famous. Funnily enough, Chalk Hill doesn’t have a chalky soil 😄 It’s white volcanic ash (which may look a bit like chalk).⠀⠀⠀⠀


🍇 Grapes & styles

Almost all famous international varieties are found in Russian River Valley. In the cool parts, pinot noir, chardonnay sauvignon blanc are the most planted varieties and in the warmer areas, you’ll find cab sauv, merlot, zinfandel and riper styles of chardonnay and pinot noir.

💡 Something you didn’t know (did you?)

Something to think about: those big differences in climate allow zinfandel to grow alongside chardonnay and pinot noir.⠀

Your turn now 

I always put a new region on instagram first. If you have any additions or comments on a region, please do share. You can drop a comment on instagram or on the website – see below. Your help is much appreciated!


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