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Fort Ross Vineyard

Fort Ross-Seaview American Viticultural Area (AVA)

The Fort Ross-Seaview AVA is planted to less than 600 acres located on the steep coastal ridges above the Pacific Ocean approximately 80 miles northwest of San Francisco.


Located in far western Sonoma County the Fort Ross-Seaview American Viticultural Area (AVA) was finally approved in early 2012, though wine grapes have been farmed here, albeit sporadically, for two centuries. The first grapes planted in Napa and Sonoma counties were planted at the historic Fort Ross in 1817. Fort Ross-Seaview is a small AVA with approximately 555 acres of vineyards planted on steep coastal ridges at elevations from 920 to 1,800 feet. This “Coastal Cool” AVA is distinguished from other Sonoma Coast AVAs both by its elevation and proximity to the Pacific Ocean. Still, with its relative remoteness, steep, mountainous terrain and low yields, farming vineyards here is not for the faint of heart.

The region boasts just a handful of growers, but some of California’s finest producers of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay have vineyards in the AVA, including Flowers, Wayfarer and Martinelli. Lester and Linda Schwartz were instrumental in the formation of the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA, and they founded the Fort Ross-Seaview Winegrowers Association to promote the region and its vineyards.