Wine-Growing in the Anderson Valley
The Anderson Valley is located in Mendocino County about 100 miles north of San Francisco. Blessed with an exceptionally good climate for viticulture, the Valley enjoys warm, sunny days and cool, foggy nights ideally suited to growing Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.
In the middle part of the last century, Italian and
Swiss immigrants settled the Mendocino wilderness,
finding it reminiscent of their hillside farms back
home. They planted vineyards with cuttings they
brought with them from the Old World, and made wines
for their own consumption.
Some of these house-made wines made their way
to the logging camps in the Valley and along the
rugged Mendocino coast, representing the first baby
steps of a wine industry in the Valley.
Mendocino's weather has the wild and unpredictable nature of most great beauties! You may start out in a romantic foggy landscape in the village and emerge into glorious, grape-ripening sunshine once we drive further inland. Be prepared for both! We strongly suggest that our guests dress in layers, from a tank top or tee-shirt on the bottom to a warm jacket or sweater on top. You can check current weather conditions to the right.
Click here to check weather conditions on the coast.
During Prohibition, much of the wine-making equipment
in Mendocino County was destroyed in raids by federal
agents. Many of the smaller wineries never recovered,
even after Prohibition was repealed in 1933.
In the 1940s, Italian Swiss Colony attempted to
produce table wines from the grapes of French
Colombard and Ugni Blanc. These grapes were suited to
warmer climates, and did not ripen sufficiently to
produce quality wines. Against prevailing thought in
the mid-1960s, Dr. Donald Edmeades planted 24 acres of
varietal grapes in the Valley. Other growers followed
suit, confirming his hunch that premium wines could be
produced here with the right cool-season varietals
cultivated in the right way.
Anderson Valley was officially recognized as a
wine-growing region and given an appellation of its
own in 1983. In addition to the Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
and Gewurztraminer grapes in the Valley, there are
also small plantings of Pinot Gris, Sauvignon
Blanc,White Riesling, Muscat, Cabernet Sauvignon,
To discover more about Anderson Valley visit the Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association.