If there is one winegrowing area in California that most closely emulates the Burgundy region of France, it’s the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County.
Just as in Burgundy, the two varieties that reign supreme in the Russian River are Pinot Noir among reds and Chardonnay among whites. So many wineries – most still family-owned and relatively small – are congregated in the area today that an organization has been formed to help visitors plan their excursions and navigate the terrain: the Russian River Wine Road.
From a humble beginning with nine member wineries, the Wine Road now encompasses more than a hundred wineries and 50 lodging locations.
The wineries and lodgings are well known for their friendly hospitality and relaxed atmosphere. The wine estates vary from Italian-style villas and French-style chateaux to small “garagiste” wineries (a French term coined because many of these people started off making wine in their garages).
Wine Road lodgings can also be found to suit any taste, from quaint cottages and Victorian bed-and-breakfast inns to luxurious hotels and spas.
The Russian River, which defines the region, meanders through the town of Cloverdale to Santa Rosa and out to the Sonoma Coast. Northwest Sonoma County is arguably the most picturesque grape-growing region in California, and stands out as one of the ultra-premium growing regions of the world.
The association has produced a myriad of programs, events and services, all of which can be accessed at wineroad.com.