Dry Creek Valley, a premium winegrowing region, is located in Northern Sonoma County, California, only an hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge/San Francisco.
Renowned for its idyllic undisturbed beauty, Dry Creek Valley is home to over 9,000 acres of vineyards that carpet the intimate 16-mile long x 2-mile wide valley, floor to hillside. With a grape growing history going back 140 years – one of the longest in California – producing premium winegrapes is core to this region. In fact, the valley boasts one of the densest concentrations of Old Vine Zinfandel in the world.
A commitment to land stewardship is an integral part of the valley’s farming practices, with a majority of the producers following sustainable, organic and biodynamic practices in the vineyards.
While Dry Creek Valley is best known for producing world-class Zinfandel, Bordeaux and Rhone wines are also widely available. More than 70 wineries are located throughout the valley, nearly all of which remain family-owned with limited-production, premium wines. Guests are likely to be greeted by the winemaker, owner or family member in the tasting rooms – each offering a unique combination of history, wine and tasting experience. Visitors can find a complementary mix of wine country history and modern luxury in nearby Healdsburg. Only moments away, this sophisticated, charming town offers world-class dining, lodging and shopping
With roots reaching back 140 years, Dry Creek Valley's history in winegrape growing is among the longest in California. Its fertile landscape attracted settlers soon after the California Gold Rush of 1849. By the late 1880s, the valley had nine wineries and 883 acres of vineyards - the majority planted to Zinfandel, for which Dry Creek is best known. Prohibition ended this first wine boom, with just two wineries remaining after its repeal in 1933, Frei Brothers and J. Pedroncelli, which is still operating today. While some vineyards continued, prunes and pears became the valley mainstay until the California wine revival began in the 1970’s, bringing a dramatic expansion of vineyards and wineries. And in 1983, Dry Creek Valley became one of the first California wine regions to be recognized as an official American Viticultural Area (AVA).
Today, nearly 9,000 acres of vineyards carpet the valley, providing exceptional fruit to over 70 wineries,
the majority of which remain family-owned.
GEOGRAPHY + CLIMATE
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.
100% Sustainable by 2019
Dry Creek Valley is proud to be part of Sonoma County's initiative to become a 100% sustainable wine region by 2019. Sustainability is defiend by the triple bottom line: a comprehensive set of practices that are environmentally sound, socially equitable, and economically viable. Sustainable practices are defined by the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing, as defiend by the Wine Institute's California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance Program.