West Sonoma Coast Wine Region and Appellation
With the recent approval of the newly established West Sonoma Coast American Viticultural Area (AVA), Sonoma County now has a whopping 19 different AVAs!
Located on the furthest western sliver of Sonoma County, made up of steep, rugged mountainous terrain along the Pacific Ocean coastline, the West Sonoma Coast AVA holds approximately 50 vineyards planted with several varieties, mostly Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah. The approval of the AVA recognizes the uniquely cold, marginal, and maritime growing conditions of this region.
Elevation of the West Sonoma Coast AVA ranges from 400 to 1,800 feet, with vineyards planted on steep ridge tops along the San Andreas fault line. Cold marine air and heavy fog create challenging conditions for grape growers, while offering distinct advantages for winegrapes. Daytime highs are cooler and nighttime lows are warmer than the rest of the Sonoma Coast AVA, allowing grapes to ripen slowly throughout the day and night, reaching peak maturity at lower sugar levels with pronounced acidity.
This video from West Sonoma Coast Vintners explains more of what makes this area special:
Consumers can expect wines produced in this AVA and labeled "West Sonoma Coast" to have bright acidity, moderate alcohol, and pure flavors, differentiating them from wines grown on warmer sites farther inland in the Sonoma Coast AVA. Some of the wineries either farming or using fruit grown in the West Sonoma Coast AVA are:
32 Winds Wine, Balletto Vineyards, Banshee Wines, Black Kite Cellars, Ernest Vineyards, Flowers Vineyards & Winery, Freeman Vineyard & Winery, Hirsch Vineyards, Littorai Wines, Marine Layer Wines, Paul Hobbs Winery, Red Car Wine, and Small Vines Wines.
The new West Sonoma Coast AVA comprises three subregions, from north to south: Annapolis, the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA, and Freestone-Occidental. The AVA's western boundary is the Pacific Ocean; the eastern is a series of elevation contours within seven miles of the Pacific; the northern is the shared Sonoma-Mendocino County line; and the southern is the northern boundary of the Petaluma Gap AVA.
Congratulations to the winegrowers and producers of the new West Sonoma Coast AVA!
Written by Melanie Wynne
Other Sonoma County AVAs:
Carneros - Sonoma
Dry Creek Valley
Fort Ross - Seaview
Green Valley of Russian River Valley
Pine Mountain - Cloverdale Peak
Russian River Valley