Dry Creek Valley’s modern reputation for premium wine is testament to ideal grape growing conditions – a unique blend of soil, geography and climate – which creates wine of singular quality and place.
The Perfect Soil
One of the smallest AVAs in size (16 miles long by two miles wide), Dry Creek Valley is a dense concentration of floor, benchland and hillside vineyards. The valley was created by the uplift and subsidence along ancient earthquake faults and the deposit of alluvial material. This soil deposited over thousands of years on the valley floor is primarily gravelly and sandy loam – deep, well drained and fertile dirt that produces good crops of flavorful grapes. The soil on the surrounding benches and hills is composed of gravelly clay loam, often strikingly red in color. This very rocky soil drains exceptionally well, helping to stress the vines late in the growing season, concentrating varietal character.
An Infamous Climate
70 miles north of San Francisco and 20 miles east of the Pacific Ocean, Dry Creek Valley is ideally situated for winegrapes. Bordered by Lake Sonoma in the North and the confluence of Dry Creek and the Russian River to the south, the valley is classified as a Region II climate for grape growing (similar to Bordeaux region in France). Dry Creek Valley experiences both coastal and inland influences, with the nearby coastal mountain range keeping cool marine temperatures at bay, allowing for daily temperatures in the mid-80’s, July-Sept. But these mountains also provide a conduit for the coastal cold air and fog to come in at night, dramatically dropping temperatures. Long, warm days allow the fruit to fully ripen, while coastal cooling in the evening enables the grapes to mature slowly and retain their acidity and balance. These are the perfect growing conditions for Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc, the region’s signature wines, as well as Bordeaux and Rhone varietals.
For more information on the natural diversity of Dry Creek Valley: