Tasting Green Valley AVA in 2 Days

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The Green Valley of Russian River Valley AVA is a bucolic stretch of land filled with rolling hills and redwood forests, dotted with modest farmhouses and picturesque barns. It’s located in the southwestern part of the Russian River Valley, bounded by the towns of Sebastopol, Forestville and Occidental. The area is known for its foggy climate and well-drained soil, which makes the wines throughout the AVA unusually cohesive and distinct–in other words, a worthwhile tasting experience, to be sure.

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Wineries / Santa Rosa

DeLoach Vineyards

As a certified biodynamic winery, DeLoach encourages biodiversity on the estate with chickens, a beehive, and an organic vegetable and herb garden that includes medicinal plants. Try their popular Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and Zinfandels in a winery designed by renowned architect Howard Backen.

Insider Tip

The popular Taste of France is an exclusive guided, comparative tasting that explores the Burgundian origins of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Wines from France are served alongside their counterparts from DeLoach to illustrate the differences that varying climates and soil types contribute to terroir.

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2
Wineries / Sebastopol

Dutton Estate Winery

Dutton Estate produces vineyard-specific, limited-production lots of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah, all sourced from the family’s estate properties and Dutton Ranch. Before starting the winery, Tracy and Joe Dutton's vision was to build a business that their family could grow into. Not surprisingly, a stop at the winery feels like a visit to the home of your favorite relatives.

Insider Tip

The Estate Flight is a steal at $10 for four wines, especially considering that one of them is the 2012 Karmen Isabella Pinot Noir, which received a gold medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and 94 points from Wine Enthusiast.

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3
Wineries / Sebastopol

Dutton-Goldfield Winery

Dutton-Goldfield Winery is a collaboration between longtime friends Steve Dutton and Dan Goldfield. Dutton is a fifth-generation farmer who grew up with the love of the land; Goldfield also grew up with a similar passion, but from the perspective of a hiker, skier, and all-round outdoor enthusiast. After graduating from college on the east coast, he journeyed out west to start a career in research chemistry. Once here, he fell in love with Wine Country, and lab work was replaced with winemaking.

Insider Tip

Dutton-Goldfield WINERY offers and fun and unique wine and sushi flight. Their single-vineyard wines, including the unoaked whites, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, are served with an assortment of sushi creations. A vegan option is also available.

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4
Wineries / Sebastopol

Emeritus Vineyards

The 120-acre vineyard is devoted almost exclusively to Pinot Noir, and is located directly on the Gold Ridge, which gives its name to the soils of the area. The sandy soil, known for its excellent drainage, is derived from the remains of an ancient inland sea that slowly emptied into the Pacific 3 to 5 million years ago. The vineyard is located at the top of the ridge, giving the vines optimum sun exposure, yet they are kept cool during the day by the Pacific breeze. At night, they’re cooled by the celebrated Green Valley fog. These characteristics combine to make this area among the very best in the world for growing Pinot Noir.

Insider Tip

The new Emeritus tasting room was opened at the end of 2015 and features a large and inviting patio with comfy seating that entices you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the wine and scenery.

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5
Wineries / Forestville And Graton

Hartford Family Winery

This winery embraces traditional winemaking techniques with minimum intervention. The vineyards are farmed on a block-by-block basis so that each site's unique characteristics are accentuated, resulting in small bottlings of single-vineyard Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Old-Vine Zinfandel, each with its own distinctive personality. They have all been served at the White House, and the winery has won numerous awards, such as being named “Artisan Winery of the Year” by Wine & Spirits magazine in just its third year of production.

Insider Tip

In addition to tastings and tours at the winery, you can also try Hartford Wines at their Healdsburg tasting room on Healdsburg Ave.

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6
Wineries / Sebastopol

Iron Horse Vineyards

Although Pinot Noir is a rising star at this winery, Iron Horse is still best-known for its sparkling wines that have been served at the White House since 1985. In fact, they were served during the White House Millennium celebrations, meaning the country toasted in a new century with Iron Horse. The end of the Cold War was also celebrated with Iron Horse during the historic U.S.- Russian Summit Meetings. Iron Horse has been chosen as one of Wine & Spirits magazine’s “Top Wineries of the Year” for seven years.

Insider Tip

On Mondays at 10 a.m., winemaker David Munksgard offers a truck tour through the vineyards and a private tasting. Limit of four people, $50 per person.

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7
Wineries / Sebastopol

Marimar Estate

The winery was started by Marimar Torres, a descendant of an old Spanish wine family which has been growing grapes in Catalonia since the 17th century. The vineyards are certified organic and planted in the labor-intensive, high-density European style, with 2,000 or more vines per acre, trained very close to the ground. The yields are low, but the vines live longer and produce grapes with greater concentration.

Insider Tip

This is the place to go to for a feel of Catalonia. The winery is designed in the style of a Catalan farmhouse and they host a variety of events with an Old World taste, such as their many paella lunches. They even organize group trips to Spain for wine club members.

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Wineries / Sebastopol

The Rubin Family of Wines

In addition to creating high-quality wines, the winery is also committed to social and environmental well-being. Founder Ron Rubin is also the owner of the high-end, specialty tea company The Republic of Tea and is very passionate about being a steward of the land. The health of the soil, as well as the health of the people working in the vineyards, is protected through natural and sustainable farming practices.

Insider Tip

Tours are offered by appointment only, but it's worth the trouble. Make the most of your visit by signing up beforehand for the winery's 7-part educational email series called The Beautiful Experience of Wine.

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