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Russian River Valley

The Russian River Valley received it's name from the Russian fur hunters who settled in the area in the 1800's. However, the Valley had been enjoyed for centuries before that by indigenous people in the area. The area provided for these people all that they could wish for; fresh fish from the river, mammals who inhabited the river surroundings, deep forests for wood and shelter and fresh berries and fruits from the wild plants which grew at the time.

Winegrowing in the area began with the Russian colonists who arrived in the valley in the early 1800's. The very first grape plantation was founded in 1836 by a Russian man from Moscow, named Yegor Chernykh. The area, in fact, has quite a foreign influence, as the growth after the initial few vineyards should be attributed to Italian immigrants.

With a growth in population came a search for viable, rich land. The valley was spotted by enterprising eyes and a train line was built which meant that part of the forestry needed to be cut down. With this done, it became apparent to the eye quite how much potential the valley had. The Californian attractions were no less heavenly then they are now; a Mediterranean climate, rich soil and vicinity to the ocean. Settlers were attracted to the area and grew whatever grew well in this climate. One of the crops grown was grapes.

However, the climate in the Russian Valley is not quite akin to other parts of California, being slightly cooler because of it's location. For this reason, wine making in the valley was not considered quite as profitable as other enterprises. For a long time, the only mass wine production was a sparkling wine, which was not highly revered. The Napa Valley, also in California was considered not to be competed with in terms of wine production and so, for a long while the Russian Valley did not produce premium wines.

That is not to say decent quantities of wine was not produced in the valley. Actually, by 1890, some 6,000 acres of land was covered by grapes, happily growing in the sunshine, which produced over a million gallons of wine. As with all the other wine valleys in California, the Russian River Valley was quite badly affected by the outbreak of phylloxera, a grape pest, and also by prohibition.

Luckily, viticulture sprung back to life in the valley in the 1960's and today the Russian River Valley produced excellent Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

External resources

  • Korbel Champagne : Korbel Champagne Cellars web site. Learn about the heritage and history of a family owned business and find out more about Korbel California Champagnes.
  • Rodney Strong Vineyards : The official Rodney Strong Vineyards homepage, located in wine country
  • Pellegrini Vineyards : Pellegrini Family Wines
  • Deloach Vineyards : De Loach Vineyards is one of the premier wineries of the Russian River Valley, located 60 miles north of San Francisco, just west of the city of Santa Rosa. De Loach Vineyards has been making award winning varietals such as Chardonnay Cabernet Sauvignon Z
  • Crane Canyon Vineyards : Hand-crafted Pinot Noir, Zinfandel,Mourvedre, and Mourvedre Rose from Sonoma County's smallest winery. Winery info, newsletter, tasting notes, special offers.
  • Topolos Winery : Topolos at Russian River Vinyards is a family-owned winery and restaurant in Sonoma County just an hour north of San Francisco and fifteen minutes west of Santa Rosa
  • Belvedere Vineyards : This is the place where you can learn all about our upcoming events in addition to all of the fun stuff we do year around. You can also get directions to come visit us for a relaxing afternoon here in the winecountry
  • Foppiano Vineyards : Foppiano Vineyards offers premium wines under three different labels. Their wines represent some of the best wine values in California. The Foppiano label is reserved for red wines; Petite Sirah, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.
  • Dry Creek Vineyards : Dry Creek Vineyard produces award wining wines in the heart of Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley. Dry Creek Vineyards currently produces Zinfandel, Dry Chenin Blanc, Fumé Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah, Petite Syrah, Meritage and Late Harvest