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The Effect of Dry Creek Soil on Grape Growing

The ridges that form Dry Creek Valley are made of igneous rocks with high iron content. There is also a substantial amount of sandstone in these hills. Top soil is made of a combination of eroded volcanic rock and sandstone. The result is porous, sandy soils that are often red from oxidized iron.

Steep mountains rise to about 1,500 feet on the western side of the valley. The eastern side is separated from the more inland Alexander Valley AVA by mountains that rise to 600 feet.

Soils on the valley floor are primarily alluvial and sandy. In this part of the AVA, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon are grown along with the ever present Zinfandel. Dry Creek Vineyard makes several high quality affordable Zins as well as a Sauvignon Blanc from this part of the region.

Centrally located vineyards in the eastern and western foothills produce the majority of the region’s prized Zinfandel. The Dry Creek Conglomerate is a term that describes the coarse, gravelly soil found in the best vineyard sites. It is situated above the valley floor, but relatively low in the mountains. Extremely well drained, these benchlands produce scarce, high quality grapes.

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