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)

Porter Creek Vineyards | Russian River Valley AVA | Healdsburg

Winery Overview



• Sources its estate wines from its 21 acres of vineyards in Sonoma's Pinot heartland—on Westside Road in the Russian River Valley; it also buys grapes from other (not certified) growers for some of its wines

• The winery and tiny, rustic tasting room are on the vineyard site in Healdsburg

Best known for

• A legendary, under the radar Russian River winery that quietly produces acclaimed biodynamic Pinots

• Makes five certified wines from organic and biodynamic vines (91-93 pts., $42-76)

• Biodynamic since 2003, it's known for its non-interventionist winemaking approach

• Proprietor and founder George Davis purchased the 40 acre estate property in 1977, just a few years after a portion of it was planted to Pinot Noir vines; he planted 10 additional acres of Chardonnay and bonded the winery in 1982, making the wines himself until 1997

• His son, proprietor and winemaker Alex Davis, grew up in the vines where he learned to prune and, while he was in high school, won the statewide pruning contest; after high school, he studied viticulture at Fresno State

• In his 20's, Davis traveled to Burgundy, Dijon and the Rhone to learn about old world winemaking; he worked harvest in some of Burgundy's grand cru vineyards (Domaine George Roumier [Bonnes Mares and Musigny] and Domaine Michelot in Mersault)

• Davis also studied viticulture at the University of Dijon for two years, and then worked at Guigal in the Rhone before returning to the family vineyard in 1997 to become the winemaker

• Porter Creek's Hillside vineyard Pinot Noir vines, planted in 1973, are some of the oldest in California

• As wine critic Jon Bonné put it, the winery’s approach is “nuanced, pure in its fruit and informed by Alex's time in some of Burgundy's greatest cellars...has a following among advanced placement Pinotphiles”

• In 2019, Slow Wine awarded the winery a prestigious Snail award, the international organization's highest honor 

Organic and Biodynamic case production

1,500 (out of 4,000 total)


Vineyards and winery, organic, Stellar Certification Services, 2003-2018, CCOF 2018 through present; biodynamic, 2003, Demeter USA




Certified Organic and Biodynamic Grapes

Certified Wines: "Made with Biodynamic Grapes" or "Biodynamic Wine" 

(depending on the vintage)

• Chardonnay-George's Hill

• Pinot Noir-Estate

• Pinot Noir-Fiona Hill

• Pinot Noir-Hillside

• Pinot Noir-Winegrowers Reserve

Visiting | What to Expect | Contact



Flight of wines (walk in)

Porter Creek Vineyards

8735 Westside Rd.

Healdsburg, CA 95448


Website        |      Email      |       Facebook     |     Instagram


Russian River Vineyards | Russian River Valley AVA | Forestville

Winery Overview



• Sources grapes for its estate grown wines from its six acre vineyard in Forestville; it also purchases grapes from local growers

• The winery is on the vineyard property

• The winery is one of the few that also has a restaurant, which also serves as the tasting room, offering generous food pairings with wine and serving meals for private events

Best known for

• Built in 1969 to look like the nearby hop kilns in the area, the historic winery and restaurant makes small lots of artisanal wines

• Produces two estate grown wines from certified organic vines ($75-85)

• Proprietors Chris O'Neill and Barbara Sattler are environmentalists as well as vintners; Sattler, a USF professor, is an expert on environmental health and nursing

• The original Russian River Vineyards winery was founded in 1963, 20 years before the region became an official appellation (named the Russian River Valley AVA) in 1983

• In 1987, it was one of the first in California to have certified organic vineyards; after a period without certification, it recertified its vines and winery as organic in 2015

• The winery was also a restaurant; no longer permiteed, it is one of the few wineries to combine both dining and a winery and continues to operate both under a grandfathered status

• Co-founder Giovanni Balistreri was named winemaker in 2012

• In 2018 the winery joined with Pollinator Partnership to plant milkweed and 18 native species designed to help monarch butterflies (who eat and breed in milkweed) and pollinators; it is slated to become a research center


Vineyards, organic, CCOF, 2015; winery, organic, 2015, CCOF

Case production

1,000 (out of 5,000 total)




Certified Organic Grapes

• Merlot 

• Pinot Noir 

Visiting | What to Expect | Contact



Tasting (walk in)


Tasting paired with chef-crafted bites (by appt.)


Private group tasting with bites; for groups of 7-12 (by appt.)

Russian River Vineyards

5700 CA-116

Forestville, CA 95436


Website      |      Email      |      Facebook     |     Twitter