Our estate vineyards lay within three of the nation’s most valued American Viticultural Areas: Russian River Valley, Chalk Hill and Sonoma Coast. This vast diversity across our land is a huge part of what makes Windsor Oaks Vineyards special, allowing us to grow 18 very different varietals of grape that typically are not grown in such close proximity.
Russian River Valley: Known for producing first-rate Burgundian varietals, the Russian River Valley AVA benefits from cool mornings and coastal evening fog – ideal for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The area was settled in the early 1800s by Russian immigrants who introduced wine grapes as the first cultivated field crop. Italian immigrants, drawn to California by the Gold Rush of 1849, took up the torch and much of the growth of the later part of the century was due to their planting. While much of the progress of the century was decimated by the phylloxera epidemic of the late 1800s, a slow recovery saw the AVA again producing high-end Burgundies, as well as Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel.
Chalk Hill: Encompassing the northeast corner of the larger Russian River Valley AVA, the Chalk Hill AVA was established in June 1988. It is named for its unique, volcanically-derived, chalky white ash soils which lend themselves to the production of excellent Cabernet Sauvignon. Higher elevations than most of the Russian River Valley AVA are responsible for slightly warmer temperatures and moderating afternoon breezes. The upper hills also produce incredible Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, and Sangiovese, as well as many other varietals.
Sonoma Coast: This is the largest single AVA in Sonoma County. It’s characterized by steep, rugged mountains and ridges, rising to 700 meters and running parallel to the Pacific. Soil and climate differences can be extreme, offering varied and often outstanding wines.