A Wine Tasting Itinerary in the Eastern Hills of the Russian River Valley AVA
The eastern edge of Sonoma’s large Russian River Valley AVA is located just south of downtown Healdsburg and features a cluster of wineries both large and small. This itinerary takes you to three wineries in the region: the historic Foppiano Winery (started in 1896), followed by the small family-run wineries Merriam Vineyards and Viszlay Vineyards. This part of the RRV has the least fog influence and comparatively warmer temperatures, leading to bolder wines.
The story of Foppiano Vineyards is an epic family history full of tradition, perseverance, and contributions to the history of Sonoma County and the wine industry. Founded in 1896 by Giovanni Foppiano, Foppiano Vineyards is one of Sonoma County’s oldest continually operated, family-owned wineries. The family has supplied Northern California with wine for over a century, surviving Prohibition. The vision of the fifth generation of the Foppiano family guides their winery into the future while creating a world class wine program representative of their history.
Foppiano Vineyards sits on a 160-acre estate in Russian River Valley's Eastern Hills. Cool morning fog and warm summer days create the ideal microclimate for the estate grapes. Since 1896 these estate vineyards have produced ripe, expressive fruit, enabling the award-winning wines to speak for themselves vintage after vintage. With a great respect for the earth, the family farms their land sustainably and provides the highest level of care and maintenance.
Wines Produced: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Carignane, Zinfandel, and Petite Sirah
Best winery visit of our 3 day trip. This winery has it all. Great wine, friendly staff, and a relaxing environment. I enjoyed every wine that I tasted. We went back the next day we enjoyed it so much. -AB, Google Review
Nestled in the warmest edge of the Russian River Valley, Merriam Vineyards offers French-style wines in their beautifully appointed tasting room. Their commitment to delivering vineyard-designated wines allows them the opportunity to create unique wines that will live up to their old world inspiration. The award winning wines, inspired by Bordeaux and Burgundy styles, serve as a testament to their inspiration and ideals as grower and winemaker.
Designed with the comfort and warmth of a New England-style farmhouse, the winery and tasting room sits at the hub of three major California appellations; the Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valley. Visitors enjoy the garden terrace overlooking the magnificent valley and Healdsburg’s wine country. The winery produces a very wide assortment of wines as well as olive oil.
Wines Produced: Pinot Noir, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, Red Blends, Dessert wine, Rosé, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
They have fabulous wines; white, Rosè, and red. We love their Pinot Noir. The staff is super friendly and fun, especially Chris. We would definitely come back again. -TW, Yelp Review
Viszlay Vineyards practices sustainable farming methods and embraces the traditional winemaking styles that produce soft, elegant and balanced wines. The wines are produced in small lots and are currently available exclusively through the winery. All Viszlay wines are grown on the 10-acre vineyard and crafted onsite by this family-owned and operated boutique winery.
The winery and tasting room is located atop a vineyard-covered hill high above the Russian River Valley. Take in the breathtaking view and sample a selection of wines right in the vineyard!
Wines Produced: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Red Blends, Malbec, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Port, Chardonnay, Prosecco
John and his daughter Abby greet you with a smile and their wine insight. Awesome! Great little family owned gem offering up several varietals all from their estate vineyards. Enjoy these beautiful wines and hospitality... Very cool real deal wine country experience. -TS, Google Review