The Russian River area has always been one of our favorite wine producing regions. This incredible wine country has something for every wine taste! It lies north of San Francisco about 50 miles and surrounds the quaint town of Healdsburg. Comprised of several famous wine producing regions, the wineries you will find there are typically of the artisan, boutique variety.
When entering the Russian River wine area from the south on US Highway 101, you will first encounter the Russian River Valley. This area benefits from a cool influence from the Pacific Ocean and has a perfect climate for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In this southern area we find some of our favorite Pinot Noir producers: Martinelli, Gary Ferrell, Moshin, Davis Bynum, and Rochioli - just to a name a very few of the gems. The famous Chardonnay producers, Sonoma – Cutrer (not open the public) and La Crema are located here.
The Russian River Valley is so well known for their high quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes that even wine producers outside the area come here to buy grapes. Doing so allows them to boast that their wine is a "Russian River Pinot Noir"!
Dry Creek Valley.
Moving north in the region from the Russian River Valley we encounter the Dry Creek Valley. For over 30 years this has been a favorite because of the spectacular Zinfandel produced here. While there is some wonderful Cabernet and Syrah grown and vinted in the Dry Creek Valley, Zinfandel is the varietal for which this region is best known. Big red wine fans delight in the wines produced by Dry Creek Winery, Ridge, Mauritson, Bella, Rafanelli and so, so many others. The north end of the Dry Creek Valley brings you to Ferrari-Carano - a true showplace of beautiful gardens and great wine.
To the east of the Dry Creek Valley is the Alexander Valley. Spectacular Cabernets from Robert Young Estate Winery, Lancaster, Archipel, Vérité and Silver Oak are consistent favorites. The Alexander Valley is also home to great Zinfandels produced at Stryker (good Cabs too!), Sausal, White Oak, Hanna … (so many wineries, so little time!).
In the center of the region is the town of Healdsburg (http://www.healdsburg.com). This is a wonderful "small town America" kind of place complete with a shaded town square. There are over a dozen tasting rooms including La Crema, and Rosenblum, the famous Zinfandel producer. One of favorite stops has always been the picturesque Simi Winery at the north end of the town.
Bed and breakfast inns, fabulous restaurants, shopping and wine tasting – Healdsburg has it all!
We urge you to visit the Russian River Wine Road (http://www.wineroad.com ) for a list of all of the wineries and upcoming events. If you are interested, they will be happy to send you a detailed map of the region.