Fort Ross-Seaview Wine Region and Appellation
One of Sonoma County's most distinctive American viticultural areas (AVAs) is located in the coastal hills above Fort Ross State Historic Park, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Carved out of the larger Sonoma Coast AVA in 2011, the 27,500-acre Fort Ross-Seaview AVA was given special consideration for its soaring elevation and remote, rugged location. Precious few of its wineries are open to the public, but its 500 vineyard acres produce some of Sonoma County's most sought-after Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The Lay of the Land
To understand Fort Ross-Seaview, picture a vineyard on the crown of a coastal ridge, surrounded by a sea of fog. Although the AVA is located just a few miles from cold Pacific Ocean waters, between Jenner and The Sea Ranch, it is also significantly defined by its higher elevation. In the summer, vineyards bask in warm sunlight indeed, while many are above the damp belt of fog that invades the Petaluma Gap and Russian River Valley. Fort Ross-Seaview is an essentially chilly climate on the edge of grape-growing possibility, yet, at times, may receive more sunlight than areas like Green Valley of the Russian River Valley, which is defined by immersion in fog.
Fort Ross Vineyard, Winery & Tasting Room was founded in the 1990s by Lester and Linda Schwartz, and is open daily for tasting Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinotage with spectacular views. And because guests found it difficult to visit their remote location, Flowers Vineyards & Winery recently opened the House of Flowers, offering tasting experiences just minutes from downtown Healdsburg, in northern Sonoma County.
Many of the other wineries operating within or sourcing grapes from the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA are not open to the public, and often their wines are available only by waiting list or from specialty retailers. They include Wild Hog, Marcassin, Failla, Williams Selyem, and Peay.
Several wineries set outside of the AVA make wine with Fort Ross-Seaview grapes these days, and those with tasting room include Martinelli Winery in Windsor, Red Car Wine in Sebastopol, and Tin Barn Vineyards in Sonoma.
Restaurants and Lodging in Fort Ross-Seaview
Written by Sonoma Insider James Knight
Sonoma County Appellations (AVA):
Carneros - Sonoma
Dry Creek Valley
Fort Ross - Seaview
Green Valley of Russian River Valley
Pine Mountain - Cloverdale Peak
Russian River Valley
West Sonoma Coast