Looking for Zinfandel in all the right places: Dry Creek Valley

We are big fans of Zinfandel wines, especially from the Dry Creek Valley in the Russian River wine region of Sonoma County. The Dry Creek Valley is one of the prettiest wine country areas in California. This AVA (wine appellation) is small by most standards, only 16 miles long by two miles wide. Yet it … Read more

Mystique of Rockpile

We met Clay Mauritson, owner and winemaker of Mauritson Winery, early on Saturday morning at the Mauritson winery and followed him up to his family vineyards in the Rockpile AVA. Rockpile is a small AVA that is situated high above Lake Sonoma. This is a chaparral environment, dry and rocky, with steep hillsides. By the looks of it, you would hardly expect any vineyards to grow here. Yet, at Rockpile there are roughly 148 acres of vines that are stressed to the max and produce big, full-flavored and complex wines. The Mauritson Family owns 40 plus acres of vineyards at Rockpile.

This is not a normal morning at Rockpile. The air is thick with fog and you can barely see more than 100 yards. What makes this area so special is the fact that Rockpile is 800 feet to 2000 feet in elevation. With Lake Sonoma below, an inversion layer is created so it always has sunshine while the rest of the Russian River wine region is in fog. On most days, the afternoon brings strong winds from the Pacific Ocean that stress the vines and causes them to lose water. Yet all the vines look amazingly healthy at this time of the year.

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