Chalk Hill Wineries
Chalk Hill Winery
Chalk Hill occupies a 33-square mile corner of the Northeastern Russian River Valley in the American Viticultural Area (AVA) located in coastal Northwestern California. In fact, the Chalk Hill appellation is actually a sub-appellation of the Russian River Valley AVA. The fertile, white, ashy volcanic soil combined with a slightly warmer climate makes the growing conditions in Chalk Hill distinct from most of Sonoma County’s vineyards.
Chalk Hill Wines Stand Out in Sonoma County
No American wine has the same widespread acclaim as Sonoma County wine, and even some of the most acclaimed vinos simply pale in comparison to the wines that come out of Chalk Hill. The whole area shares the same geologic and climate history, so Chalk Hill wine does share many characteristics with wines from the Alexander Valley and the rest of the Russian River Valley. However, you would be hard-pressed to find a winery from Sonoma County that has the same combination of warm weather and soil that the Chalk Hill AVA does.
The warmth and even the shape of the hill and adjoining valley conspire to make a longer, less humid growing season that profoundly affects the flavors of wines from the area. While most of the river valleys in the area blanket their vineyards with cool air, the geology of Chalk Hill creates a thermal belt, a phenomenon that generates warm, relatively dry breezes, especially at night. This difference is easy to spot if you taste wines made from the same grape variety that come from different parts of Sonoma County including Chalk Hill.
Wineries to See in and Near the Chalk Hill Area
There are only a handful of Chalk Hill wineries, so a wine tour of the area can easily be done in a day. However, by visiting the Chalk Hill AVA as part of a wider tour of Sonoma County or California wine country in general, you will really be able to compare these wineries and their wines. Some names of Chalk Hill wineries to look out for include:
- Chalk Hill Estate
- Chateau Felice
- Calluna Vineyards
The best way to see why Chalk Hill wines stand out is to experience it yourself and visit the wineries there. Enjoy the beauty of Northern California and taste the artfully crafted labor of true wine connoisseurs.