Russian River Valley Wine

The Russian River Valley is the most southerly AVA within Northern Sonoma. It is named for the influx of Russian immigrants who, between 1812 and 1841, settled along the Sonoma coast, establishing agricultural businesses including the planting of wine grapes. Beginning at Fort Ross they moved up to Sebastopol, Graton and Freestone, eventually settling in what would become Russian River Valley.

Most of the Russian settlers abandoned the area by 1841, but other settlers had already migrated there and continued to support viticultural plantings. By the 1870s, the wine industry began to take hold and companies such as the Santa Rosa Wine Company, Martini and Prati, Korbel Cellars and Foppiano established longstanding wineries. 
The Prohibition was a devastating blow to the region, but there were some survival techniques employed by certain wineries to get around the problem. The Alicante-Bouchet grape from Europe, know for its unique teinturier (naturally dark, heavily pigmented juice without Read more »

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Popular wines made in Russian River Valley under $20

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Varietals Produced in Russian River Valley View all

  • Pinot Noir

    “With so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, they make the blood run hot,” Joel Fleischman, wine columnist at Van...

  • Chardonnay

    British wine writer and critic, Jancis Robinson, once noted that throughout the 80’s and 90’s in the United States, C...

  • Syrah

    The irony here is that Syrah’s origins could give Carmen Sandiego a run for her international wallet. Syrah’s deepest...

  • Sauvignon Blanc

    Sauvignon Blanc is widely grown in California -- at over 15,000 acres, it’s now the third most planted variety -- and...

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

    “King of the Red Wine Grapes.” The colonizer of the vineyards, pushing native wine grapes into its shadows. The Caber...

  • Zinfandel

    Parentage of the grape: Crljenak to Austria to America. In the 1970s, claims surfaced that the Italian Primitivo is l...

Subregions of Russian River Valley

  • Green Valley

      The Green Valley AVA is in the west corner of the Russian River Valley in Sonoma, in Calif...

Popular Wineries in Russian River Valley View all

  • Rutz Cellars

    2004 Rutz Cellars Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($45) Owner Keith Rutz seeks outst...

  • J Vineyards & Winery

    A 25-year legacy of making exceptional wines to inspire in Sonoma County's Russian River Valley...

  • C. Donatiello Winery

    A visit to our estate is a retreat from the mundane, a respite of beauty, harmony, and excellence...

  • Walter Hansel Winery

    Walter Hansel Winery is located in Sonoma County at the southern tip of the Russian River Valley ...

  • Porter Creek Winery

    Owned and operated by father and son, Porter Creek is a winery and vineyard estate situated just ...

  • Holdredge Wines

    Holdredge Wines is a small, family owned and operated winery in the Russian River Valley of Heald...

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Russian River Valley on Snooth

  • J Vineyards & Winery Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2013


    Very perfumed violet, blueberry, cherry and plum aromas on the nose. Tart cherry and spice in the mouth with a touch of licorice and cinnamon spice. It's quite juicy and full of bright flavors, with a tartness towards the finish and just a touch of vanilla and oak flavors.88 pts Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

  • Bootleg Red Blend 2012


    Dark blackberry and baking spice on the nose with interesting notes of dried fig and dried currant. In the mouth this feels full and rich, with more dried fig and dark fruit, some licorice and lots of creamy spice, chewy tannins and a bit of heat on the finish. Bold enough to stand up to a variety of grilled meats and savory dishes, but with som... Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

  • Kistler Pinot Noir Russian River 2013


    No written review

    Wine review by Mr Dolce

  • Dutton Goldfield Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir 2013


    No written review

    Wine review by yarnanimal

  • Cairdean Acquaintance Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Coombsville Napa 2012


    Soft and buttery blackberry and black currant aromas with hints of cinnamon and clove. Rich and full bodied aromas, brimming with tannic structure blackberry and black cherry fruit, coffee and some maple syrup. There's a dark chocolate note on the finish as well and a load of acidity here showing this is quite a young wine with some room to run. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

  • Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay Russian River Valley Russian River Ranches 2009


    A while since I have had this one. Under-ripe peach and apricot, with high acidity. Very dry and tart, but with a background of creaminess. butter, and oak..overall perfectly balanced. Read More

    Wine review by puhnner

  • Kenwood Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2012


    Thick molasses and earth notes are a touch savory on the nose, with some cherry showing through behind the earthiness. Chewy and more fruit forward in the mouth with cherry and licorice notes and a finish of vanilla and earth. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

  • Iron Horse Vineyards Ocean Reserve Blanc de Blancs 2010


    Enjoyable bubbles from Russian River's Iron Horse. Crisp, lemon pith, good acidity, some nice biscuity/yeasty flavor and a fairly long finish. One thing a bit different is a very noticeable saltiness that comes out on the finish, not bad, just different. Read More

    Wine review by 357808vin0vin0 357808 vin0vin0

  • Ctrl/DescriptonYearPricetotalOpus One1997300300Opus one1999300300Opus One2001300900Opus One2002300300Opus One2003275550Opus One2004300600Opus One2005300600Opus One2006300600Opus One2007300600Shafer Hillside Select2006200200Shafer Hillside Select2007350350Shafer Hillside Select2008250250Shafer Hillside Select2009250250Stags Leap SLV2003110110Stag... Read More

    Forum post in the topic larry2525

  • Rodney Strong Estate Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2013


    Medium intensity ripe red fruit aromas of red berry/red cherry and crushed violet on the nose with herbal and spice notes of clove, nutmeg and lavender. Bright red cherry notes are quite ripe and carry with them some light chocolate and vanilla notes, light toast and some black pepper, with licorice and black currant bringing up the rear. A well... Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial

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