Russian River Valley AVA | Organic Overview

AVA Essentials


• The Russian River Valley AVA is a cool climate region best known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay 

• Cooling fog rolls in from the coast following the path of the Russian River

• In 1882, three Czech brothers founded the historic Korbel Winery in Guerneville

• The region is famous for its fertile Goldridge soils, a combination of sandy loam and sandstone; they attracted the legendary plant breeder Luther Burbank to the region in 1885

• Organic vineyard acres: 104 (out of 16,000 in the AVA)

• Organic vineyard case production: 7,277 

• Korbel makes an additional 34,000 cases (from organic grapes from outside Sonoma)

Tasting Rooms & Events



By appt.

Russian River Vineyards 


Walk in or by appt.

Benziger Family Winery


Walk in


By appt.



Walk in

DeLoach Vineyards 

Merriam Vineyards 

Porter Creek Vineyards 

By appt.

DeLoach Vineyards 

Merriam Vineyards

Organic Vines: Acres



• Porter Creek Vineyards: 21

• Porter-Bass: 18

• DeLoach Vineyards: 17

• Front Porch Farm: 12

• Merriam Vineyards: 12 

• Benziger Family Winery-Bella Luna: 9  • Russian River Vineyards: 5 


• Belli Vineyards (grower, Amapola Creek): 12

• Maboroshi Vineyard (grower, DeLoach Vineyards): 10 

Organic Vines: Varieties


• Chardonnay

 Grenache Blanc

• Mourvedre

• Pinot Noir

• Red Rhone Blend

• Rosé

• Sparkling Wine

• White Rhone Blend

• Zinfandel

Organic Vines: Cases


• Korbel: 34,000 (out of 1.5 million)*

• Porter Creek Vineyards: 1,500 (out of 4,000) 

• DeLoach Vineyards: 1,500 (out of 150,000) 

• Front Porch Farm: 1,200

• Russian River Vineyards: 1,000 (out of 5,000) 

• Merriam Vineyards: 865 (out of 4,500)

• Benziger Family WInery: 612 (out of 100,000)

• Porter-Bass: 600 (out of 600)

• Korbel purchases organic grapes from outside Sonoma County and makes them into wine in Guerneville (in Sonoma County)

Korbel | Russian River Valley AVA | Guerneville

Winery Overview



• Sources its sole, organically grown wine from certified organic vines in Madera, Mendocino and San Joaquin counties; its other wines come from conventional growers in California

• An industrial scale winery, it has two production facilities in different locations in Sonoma and the Central Valley; its organically grown sparkling wines are made in the certified organic winery in Guerneville

• The historic, picturesque tasting room is located in the original barrel warehouse, a charming 1882 brick and stone building in Guerneville

Best known for

• The 18th largest wine producer in the U.S., making 1.4 million cases of sparkling wine (in 11 different styles) along with still wines, brandy and more

• Makes one, widely available sparkling wine from certified organic vines ($16)

• The winery is famous for its deep roots in Russian River history—it was started by Czech immigrants in the 1850's; a century later, in 1954, the Korbel family sold the winery to Adolph Heck, whose son Gary runs the winery today

• Paul Ahvenainen is the director of winemaking

• While French Champagne is made from Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir, Korbel's organically grown  Brut comes from Chardonnay blended with nontraditional varieties—French Colombard and Sangiovese 

• Sales of its organically grown sparkling wine have nearly tripled from 12,000 cases in 2010 to 37,785 in 2020

• Its non-organic Brut has been served at nine President's inaugural luncheons, beginning with Ronald Reagan's second term in 1985 and continuing through the Obama years and Trump's 2016 inauguration

• In 2016, Korbel took Best of Class in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition for its organic Brut; the next vintage earned a spot on Wine Spectator's 2017 Top 100 Value Wines

Organic case production

37,785 (out of 1.5 million cases of sparkling wine)


Vineyards, organic, various dates, CCOF; winery, organic, 2007, CCOF


• Video




Certified Organic Grapes

Certified Wine: "Made with Organic Grapes"

• Brut-Made with Organic Grapes

Visiting | What to Expect | Contact



Public tour and tasting


Private tour

For groups of 10 or more


An onsite deli provides a wide array of food options as well as a picnic area. No outside food is permitted.  

Korbel Champagne Cellars

3250 River Road

Guerneville, CA 95446


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Merriam Vineyards | Russian River Valley AVA | Healdsburg

Winery Overview



• Sources grapes from many local growers as well as Merriam's two estate vineyards in Healdsburg, one of which—Los Amigos (12 acres)—is certified organic

• The winery is on the Los Amigos vineyard site in Healdsburg

• A large New England style farm house was built to house the tasting room; it features indoor tasting at a standup bar, a private tasting room and a garden terrace overlooking the vines

Best known for

• Russian River Valley producer making a wide variety of wines from three Sonoma regions

• Makes seven wines from certified vines ($22-75) 

• Proprietors Peter and Diana Merriam founded the winery in 2000, after relocating from New England where Peter ran a wine shop; they still spend summers in Maine

• The couple fell in love with wine on their honeymoon in France

• Diana's passion is Sauvignon Blanc while Peter's is Pinot Noir; both are planted in their estate vineyard

• The Merriam's have also planted 100 olive trees and sell organic olive oil from the estate

• Organic farming advisor Amigo Bob Cantisano was the winery's first organic vineyard consultant; Jonathan Bomberg is the winemaker

• The winery is planting 5 new acres of Chardonnay estate vines at Los Amigos which will bring the total to 17 acres in 3 years time; it takes three years for new vines to bear fruit and three years to achieve organic certification

Organic vineyard case production

865 (out of 4,500 total)


Los Amigos Vineyard, organic, 2012, CCOF




Certified Organic Grapes

• Pinot Noir (3)

• Rosé

• Sauvignon Blanc (3)

Visiting | What to Expect | Contact



Tasting room - flights at the bar (walk in)


Seated tasting and tour (by appt.)

Merriam Vineyards

11650 Los Amigos Road

Healdsburg, California 95448


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Porter-Bass | Russian River Valley AVA | Guerneville

Winery Overview



• Sources its estate wines solely from its 18 acres of certified organic and biodynamic estate vines

• The wines are made on site

• The tasting room is a table outside overlooking the vineyard

Best known for

• Growers to the stars who also make small lots of their own estate wine

• The Porter-Bass family sells top quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes to sommeliers' favorite winemakers (think Littorai and Ceritas) and bottles small lots of their own wines

• Makes three estate wines from certified vines ($36-50)

• The Porter Bass family purchased what was then a rundown 25 acre vineyard site in 1980, selling grapes; in 2001, they began reserving a small percentage of their grapes for their own Porter-Bass estate wines

• Winemaker Luke Bass and his mother Susan Bass manage the vineyard, growing 6 acres of Chardonnay, 5 acres of Pinot Noir and 4 acres of Zinfandel

• The vineyard lies in a clearing deep within a redwood fir forest; it was first planted to vines in 1915

• The soils are Hugo-Josephine series with shallow (2-3 feet), weathered sandstone interspersed with veins of clay

• Under the Littorai label, the single vineyard designate from Porter-Bass is called Mays Canyon; it's one of Littorai's most celebrated wines

• At Porter-Bass, Luke Bass makes the wines; his background includes an internship under Greg LaFollette at Flowers, followed by stints abroad in South Africa and Chile, and then back in Sonoma County at Hirsch

• Bass also makes a second label, Poco a Poco, from both estate and purchased (non-organic) grapes 

• Luke's sister Phoebe Bass is also in the wine business; with her husband John Raytek, she has her own label Ceritas and makes limited production, single vineyard designate wines, including two from her family's vineyard

• Three quarters of the Porter Bass property is left wild and uncultivated

• Pigs, sheep and chickens have a place on the land; the pond here attracts ducks, frogs, geese, and herons

Organic and biodynamic vineyard case production

600 (out of 600 total)


Vineyard, organic, 2009, Stellar Certification Services; biodynamic, 2009, Demeter USA






Certified Organic and Biodynamic Grapes

• Chardonnay

• Pinot Noir

• Zinfandel

Visiting | What to Expect | Contact



Owner vineyard tour and tasting (by appt.)


11750 Mays Canyon Rd.

Guerneville, CA 95446


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