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The Effect of Green Valley Soil on Pinot Noir Production

These soils have significant nutrient deposits and drain very well. This leads to the characteristic complexity and spiciness of resulting wines.

Gold Ridge soils in the AVA are mainly comprised of white sandy loam on the surface with clay and sandstone underneath. They tend to be in the hills rather than the lowlands and produce a scarce amount of grapes. Wines made with these grapes are balanced and display great finesse.

The Franciscan Complex is a common soil-type throughout the North Coast. These soils retain water more effectively than Gold Ridge causing vineyard managers to have to be more diligent with canopy management. They are also darker and have more clay than their hillside counterparts. Pinot Noir made with grapes from the Franciscan Complex are marked by intense concentration and bold flavors.

The labeling of Green Valley wines is not entirely consistent. Part of the reason for this is potential confusion with a lesser AVA located in Solano County that has the same name. While some producers label their wines with the specific sub-AVA name, others label them “Russian River Valley” or “North Coast.”

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