Alexander Valley has so many gifts to offer that maps, restaurants, hotels & wineries are provided by many excellent regional groups, including Alexander Valley Winegrowers, The Wine Road, and Sonoma Vintners. I wanted to share some of my personal winery and tasting room experiences as well as general information on the wineries open to the public within this wonderful valley. Sonoma County is largely a county of family farmers and Alexander Valley is no exception. In many locations you will find family members in the winery or tasting room proudly sharing their wares. If you would like your favorite Alexander Valley Winery added to my bucket list for review, please let me know in the comments below. I am always looking to find and share a new wine experiences. Follow me on Instagram@jolenespatter to see the winery I am currently visiting. Additional information is available on annual events, such as A Wine & Food Affair, Winter Wineland, Barrel Tasting, Taste Alexander Valley, and Taste of Sonoma. These events are updated regularly as are the wineries on their specific websites and here.
In 1841 Cyrus Alexander arrived in an untamed valley to manage the Sotoyome Rancho, a Mexican land grant owned by San Diego sea captain Henry Delano Fitch, and his wife, Josefa Carrillo. As payment for his services, Alexander received 9,000 acres on the eastern side of the valley, where he built his home. A tireless innovator, Alexander planted an orchard, constructed a tannery, and built the first grain mill in the area. He also planted a vineyard. The Alexander Valley is named for Cyrus Alexander as is Alexander Valley Vineyards. Nearby Fitch Mountain is named for Henry Delano Fitch and Carrillo Adobe, the historical settlement in Santa Rosa, was settled by Josefa’s mother.
In the three decades following the Gold Rush of 1849, the population of Alexander Valley grew quickly. By 1875, 230 acres were devoted to vineyards. Over the next half-century, more settlers discovered this rich land and good timber. As families acquired land and farming techniques improved, valley farmers began to specialize in prunes. Nearby Healdsburg, formerly known as “The Buckle of the Prune Belt,” is now a gateway to a world class wine region.
Alexander Valley received formal recognition as an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 1984, and today approximately 15,000 acres are planted to premium wine grapes.
Finally, I would be remiss without mentioning Alexander Valley’s sister AVA Pine Mountain -Cloverdate Peak AVA, which has no wineries and approximately 230 acres under vine with another 150 under development, but grows some fabulous grapes for its neighbor wineries in Sonoma County and Napa Valley. The viticultural area is totally within the multicounty North Coast viticultural area and overlaps the northernmost portions of the Alexander Valley viticultural area and the Northern Sonoma viticultural area. The distinguishing features of the viticultural area include its mountainous soils, steep topography with high elevations, and a growing season climate that contrasts with the climate of the Alexander Valley floor below. Look for this AVA designation on many lables throughout Northern California.
(This page is currently in development, please check back for updates.)
ALEXANDER VALLEY VINEYARDS – Wetzel Family, Proprietors; Kevin Hall, winemaker
Winery is turning 40 (2015) & the Wetzel family has owned this property since 1963 (now the third generation). Noted for their Cyrus (Bordeaux Blend) wine, they also produce a number of other wines from Chardonnay to Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon. Experiences in their tasting room including cheese pairings, hike the historical vineyards or have a cave tour – many options require advance reservations, but tastings and cave tours usually don’t (check website). Historical graveyard sits just above the winery and a cork tree just outside the tasting room.
8644 Highway 128, Healdsburg California 95448-9642
ARBIOS CELLARS (& Praxis Cellars) – Bill & Susan Arbio, Proprietors; Bill Arbios, winemaker
Arbios Cellars/Praxis Cellars is a small Sonoma County family wine business. Bill Arbios has been a wine maker for 40 years and enjoyed a successful career with many prominent wineries (including Lyeth, Fieldstone and Jarvis), but felt somewhat restricted working for large wineries and yearned for his own roots. With the creation of Arbios Cellars in 1993 and Praxis Cellars in 2000, his dream of expressing his vision and creating something lasting was realized. Arbios Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is their flagship wine and the four Praxis wines are priced for more “every day” drinking. Their tasting room is in Geyserville – see Locals Tasting Room below.
Arbios Cellars Office: 561 Mission Blvd, Santa Rosa, CA 95409
Arbios Cellars @ Locals Tasting Room: 21023 Geyserville Avenue, Geyserville, CA 95441
BREATHLESS – Rebecca Faust, Sharon Cohn, Cynthia Faust, Proprietors; Penny Gadd-Coster, winemaker
Breathless Wines is a family affair, built by the love of three sisters, Sharon, Rebecca, and Cynthia, and the passion for life that their mother passed down to them. The sisters, along with Breathless Winemaker Penny Gadd-Coster, are dedicated to sparkling winemaking in the traditional method. Breathless Sparkling Wines are hand-crafted from select Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. They do not have a tasting room, but their wines are available online and at various events throughout the area. Rack & Riddle, a custom sparkling house, in which they are directly involved also makes sparkling wine for many other wineries in the area as well as their own sparkling wines.
CLOS DU BOIS – Constellations Brands, Proprietor; Gary Sitton, Director of Winemaking
Founder Frank Woods was inspired to marry the elegant French style of winemaking with his vibrant California fruit. Decades later, Clos du Bois continues to embrace refined, approachable wines. A number of tasting opportunities are available including a Premier Wine Tasting (6 small production wines), Marlstone Experience (be a winemaker for a day), or Restored Wetlands Project (tour & small production tasting).
19410 Geyserville Avenue, Geyserville CA 95441, 707-857-3100
deLORIMIER WINERY – Ken & Diane Wilson, Proprietors; Diane Wilson & Antoine Favero, Winemakers
This gorgeous estate property is large enough to house weddings and large events and yet small & friendly enough to make guests feel welcome. Lots of rooms for picnics, but they also feature Food & Wine Pairings with various wines, including their signature Cabernet Sauvignons.
2001 Highway 128, Geyserville CA 95441
FIELD STONE WINERY & VINEYARD – John & Katrina Staten and their family, Proprietors; Patrick Murray,Winemaker
Field Stone Winery was founded in 1977 on celebrated vineyards dating back to 1894. FieldStone was named for the rough-hewn entrance facade built with field stones found during its 1976 construction – the first subterranean winery in California. Bordeaux, Italian, & Rhone varietals, although don’t miss the Petite Sirah from 120 year old vines.
10075 Highway 128, Healdsburg CA 95448
FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA WINERY – Francis & Eleanor Coppola, Proprietors; Corey Beck, President & Director of Winemaking
40+ wines produced on-site & a full restaurant, Rustic, as well as a poolside treats. Winetasting experiences include such diverse items as ‘Tasting in the Dark’ & ‘Wine, Whim & Song’ with something for any taste. Movie Gallery contains memorabilia from Academy Awards to film props and costumes on display. Cabines & Pool Passes are available for a fee and required a reservation. Pool Pavilion was inspired by the bandshell that appeared in The Godfather: Part II and features the original mural displayed in the 1974 film. Four regulation-sized bocce courts and all board games are free to use.
300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville CA 95441
HANNA WINERY (Alexander Valley & Russian River Valley) – Christina Hanna, President; Jeff Hinchliffe, Winemaker
Christine Hanna, daughter of founder and author of ‘The Winemaker Cooks,’ has run winery operations for 20 years and embodies the Sonoma County lifestyle of combining food and wine. Hanna owns 600 acres of land in the Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and the Mayacamas Mountains. Hanna is known for its Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, as well as its Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
9280 Highway 128, Healdsburg CA 95448
HAWKES TASTING ROOM – Stephen Hawkes and Family, Proprietors; Herman Froeb, Winemaker
Out of a tasting room next to the Jimtown Store or in the Estate Vineyards, they taste & sell the fruit grown of their Alexander Valley Vineyards, specializing in single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.
6734 Highway 128, Healdsburg CA 95448
J. RICKARDS VINEYARDS & WINERY
24505 Chianti Road, Cloverdale CA 95425
JORDAN VINEYARD & WINERY
1474 Alexander Valley Road, Healdsburg CA 95448
KELLEY & YOUNG
5465 Red Winery Rd, Geyserville, CA 95441
LOCALS TASTING ROOM
21023 A Geyserville Ave., Geyserville CA 95441
3487 Alexander Valley Road, Healdsburg CA 95448
MEEKER VINEYARD, THE
21035 Geyserville Avenue, Geyserville CA 95441
21015 Geyserville Avenue, Geyserville CA 95441
PECH MERLE WINERY
21001 Geyserville Avenue, Geyserville CA 95441
Telephone 707-891-3015 ext. 6
35100 Highway 128, Cloverdale, CA 95425
PRAXIS CELLARS (see Arbios above) – Bill & Susan Arbio, Proprietors; Bill Arbios, winemaker
Arbios Cellars Tasting Room: 21023 Geyserville Avenue, Geyserville, CA 95441
21015 Geyserville Avenue, Geyserville California 95441
ROBERT YOUNG ESTATE WINERY
4960 Red Winery Road, Geyserville CA 95441
Rodney Strong Vineyards
11455 Old Redwood Hwy, Healdsburg, CA 95448
Roth Estate Winery
10309 Chalk Hill Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448
ROUTE 128 VINEYARDS & WINERY
21079 Geyserville Ave, Geyserville CA 95441
Sapphire Hill Winery
51 Front St, Healdsburg, CA 95448
SILVER OAK CELLARS
24625 Chianti Road, Geyserville CA 95441
16275 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg CA 95448
SODA ROCK WINERY – Ken & Diane Wilson, Proprietors; Diane Wilson & Antoine Favero, Winemakers
8015 Hwy 128, Healdsburg CA 95448
5511 Highway 128, Geyserville CA 95441
STONESTREET ALEXANDER MOUNTAIN ESTATE
7111 Highway 128, Healdsburg CA 95448
STRYKER SONOMA WINERY & VINEYARDS
5110 Highway 128, Geyserville CA 95441
4951 West Soda Rock Lane, Healdsburg California 95448
19170 Geyserville Avenue, Geyserville CA 95441
TRIONE VINEYARDS & WINERY
19550 Geyserville Avenue, Geyserville CA 95441
WHITE OAK VINEYARDS & WINERY
7505 Highway 128, Healdsburg CA 95448