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Those of us who farm these ridges along the Pacific Ocean have always known that Fort Ross-Seaview is a unique grape growing region. Our cool maritime climate, rugged topography and marine soils are unique to our area. Our wines reflect their terroir with a character, structure and flavor that distinguishes them from wines produced in other regions. Now it’s official.
On December 14, 2011, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) issued a ruling approving the establishment of the Fort Ross-Seaview viticultural area in western Sonoma County, California. The ruling establishes the region, which lies within the larger Sonoma Coast AVA, as separate and distinct from all other wine growing regions in California. Fort Ross-Seaview is located on the steep coastal ridges above the Pacific Ocean approximately 80 miles northwest of San Francisco.
A group of coastal vineyard owners first began work on the petition for the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA in 1999 was formally submitted to the TTB in 2003. The petition called for the inclusion of 27,500 total acres, of which only 506 were planted to vineyards. It was finally approved on December 14, 2011.
Most vineyards in the Fort Ross-Seaview viticultural area are located along the Pacific coastline and are at elevations between 920 to 1,800 feet. This puts them above the natural fog line, creating a climate with more sunshine and warmer temperatures than the surrounding, lower-lying areas. The Fort Ross-Seaview AVA has been designated as "Coastal Cool." The amount of wine produced in the region will always be limited as yields are low and most of the terrain is too steep to farm. A number of highly respected wineries have vineyards in the new AVA including Fort Ross, Flowers, Hirsch, Wild Hog, Marcassin, Failla, Pahlmeyer, Martinelli, Del Dotto and Peter Michael. Fort Ross, at less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean, is the closest vineyard to the ocean.