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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 Cloverdale addresses.

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.


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