Posted September 2006
Little Dry Creek Valley Turns Out
Big Wine Experience
(DRY CREEK VALLEY; SONOMA COUNTY, CA) – It may be a small AVA
(American Viticultural Area) but one whose wines you are not
likely to overlook. Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County has long
been a grape-growing region respected for its zinfandels.
This small AVA is only 16 miles long and two miles wide – that's
measured ridge to ridge, however, the actual valley growing zone
is much narrower. There are more than 9,000 acres planted at
this time and even though zinfandels are well known here, it
is second in acreage to cabernet sauvignon.
Beset with the same problems that many California wine growing
regions faced over the years – prohibition, and World War II
– Dry Creek's wine resurgence began in the 1970's. In 1983, it
was named its own AVA. Many of the current wine growing families
that make this area home once planted prunes, pears, and peaches
on their fertile land.
There are currently 52 wineries and about 140 growers who are
members of the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley. They range in
size from the husband and wife (only) team of Kachina Vineyards
to Gallo of Sonoma. While the prices and availability of the
wines certainly vary widely, you can find some very interesting
wines at unexpectedly reasonable prices based on what one might
imagine for this world-class region.
The Pedroncelli's, for example, have owned their land for four
generations and the price of their wine reflects a cost that
one suspects is not associated with today's mortgages. Their
life and wine making philosophy emphasizes a slower pace and
memorable wines at affordable prices.
If you are interested in touring Dry Creek Valley wineries and
vineyards, you will find most with Healdsburg, Geyserville, and
Easy driving instructions are:
Exit Westside Road (west) off of Highway 101 just south of the
town of Healdsburg. From Westside Road turn right (north) on West
Dry Creek Road; or exit 101 at Dry Creek Road, just north of the
town of Healdsburg.