Our vineyard is located on Laguna Road, between River and Guerneville roads, near the geographic center of the Russian River Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) of Sonoma County. Some call the area “Laguna Ridge” or “Vine Hill,” though neither is a formal AVA. Merry Edwards, who together with Joseph Swan and Tom Dehlinger pioneered the area for modern Pinot Noir production, refers to the area as the “Golden Triangle.”
The climactic conditions that define the Russian River Valley AVA and make it a special place to grow cool-climate grapes such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are greatly influenced by geography. The Petaluma Gap, a break in the coastal hills between Bodega Bay and Point Reyes, and the valley forged by the Russian River create openings that allow cooler marine air and fog to travel inland and blanket approximately 100 square miles, cooling our grapes at night and in the morning.
In fact, it is the fog and the resulting temperature variation between warm days and cool nights during the growing season that define the Russian River Valley. The warm days allow the grapes to ripen fully, while the cool nights slow the ripening process and facilitate the retention of acidity. Malic acid, one of the principal organic acids of grapes, is metabolized during grape growth, but that process is greatly slowed in cooler climates.
The result is ripe flavors and good acid and tannin structure at lower sugar levels that characterize the best Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.