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The Effect of Russian River Soil on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay Production

Soils in the hills are loamy and volcanic. The Russian River flows through the ancient Wilson Grove Sea. The many nuances of the region’s terrain and climate have led to more specific AVA designations.

The Sonoma County Green Valley AVA and the Chalk Hill AVA are located entirely within the broader Russian River Valley. These two sub-AVAs have distinct terroir characteristics.

Sonoma County Green Valley is very close to the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the coolest AVAs in California and produces much of the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir used for sparkling wines from the Russian River Valley.

The Chalk Hill AVA is located entirely within the eastern part of the Russian River Wine Region. It is defined by higher elevation, warmer temperatures and volcanic rather than the primarily alluvial soils of the valley floor. This sub-AVA has heterogeneous terroir within its own borders and grows many different varietals.

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