A lone tree gows in the middle of green vineyards in the summer
Arrowood Vineyards & Winery, Knights Valley

Knights Valley Wine Region and Appellation

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It's tempting to report that Knights Valley is one of the last, remote corners of Sonoma County that's undeveloped, like a picture postcard of the sleepy agricultural valleys of an older California. But that isn't the whole story: Knights Valley is one of the few areas that may have actually become more rural over the last century.

Formerly part of a Mexican land grant holding of one Jose de los Santos Berryessa, Mallocomes Valley was renamed for Thomas B. Knight, a New England immigrant said to have participated in the Bear Flag Revolt. 

Once the valley had a small town, in any case, founded by real estate speculator F. E. Kellogg in the 19th century. Before Prohibition, grapes were major business in the valley.

But the post office, general store, and the town of Kellogg burned down in the 1960s. When vineyards and wineries eventually returned to the valley, they brought no tasting rooms, no hotels, and no commercial development of any kind with them.

However, today there are 2,000 vineyard acres in Knights Valley, which earned AVA status in 1983.

Top Grapes

Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals reign in this warm, high valley. Also Chardonnay, Syrah, and Sauvignon Blanc.

The Lay of the Land

The Knights Valley AVA abuts the Alexander Valley AVA to the west, Chalk Hill to the south, and cozies up to Calistoga, in Napa Valley, on the east. The only practical access to the valley is via twisty sections of Highway 128 through mountainous terrain. Suddenly the road straightens out in a high valley, where it's bordered by stately oaks draped with Spanish moss.

Vineyards take the lion's share of the flat land, but cattle operations and a gourmet truck farm are also important. Sonoma County's highest mountain, ancient volcanic Mount Saint Helena, towers over Knights Valley. 

Notable Wineries 

Most operators in Knights Valley are Sonoma County wineries, but they have mailing addresses in nearby Calistoga, like Peter Michael Winery, Moran Manor, and Speedy Creek. 

The tasting room shines in the setting sun
Arrowood Vineyards & Winery, Glen Ellen tasting room

Other wineries have important vineyards here, including Clos du Bois, and Ehret Family Winery. Arrowood Vineyards & Winery's wines can be tasted in Glen Ellen.

Backroad Bodegas

Seek out small producers in Santa Rosa's industrial winery zone for a taste of intense Knights Valley Syrah from Donelan Family Wines. Named after the black volcanic glass in the bedrock beneath the vines, the Donelan estate vineyard is one of the most unique in California. Here, the vines grow on a steep perch above the Franz Valley floor in the Knights Valley.

Restaurants and Lodging near Knights Valley 

Part of the beauty of Knights Valley is that there are no restaurants or lodging here.

Catelli's food

In nearby Geyserville, dine at family restaurant Catelli's or enjoy wood-fired pizza at Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria. The Geyserville Inn offers vineyard views.

Written by Sonoma Insider James Knight.  

Sonoma County Appellations (AVA):

Alexander Valley
Bennett Valley
Carneros - Sonoma
Chalk Hill
Dry Creek Valley
Fort Ross - Seaview
Fountaingrove District
Green Valley of Russian River Valley
Knights Valley
Moon Mountain
Northern Sonoma
Petaluma Gap
Pine Mountain - Cloverdale Peak
Russian River Valley
Sonoma Coast
Sonoma Mountain
Sonoma Valley