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Alexander Valley

AVA area in Sonoma County (North Coast region) in California. It extends from the city of Healdsburg in the south to the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains on the border with Mendocino County in the north. In 1986 a new definition of the boundaries was made, which partly caused an overlap with the AVA area Russian River. The valley has a length of almost 14 kilometres and a width of almost two to almost five kilometres. The history of viticulture goes back to the time of the gold rush. The valley was named after Cyrus Alexander (1805-1872), who, coming from San Diego in 1840, had the task of finding suitable ranch land. He finally identified an area of almost 20,000 hectares, which was then bought from the Mexican government. As a reward he received land in the size of 3,600 hectares.

There he planted the first vineyard and an orchard near Healdsburg in 1846. As the first leader of the community he built a schoolhouse and founded three churches. In the centre of his former property there is now the Alexander Valley Vineyards, which produces a red wine "Cyrus" in honour of the pioneer Alexander. The Alexander Valley is about 30,000 hectares, of which 5,600 hectares are cultivated with vines. The valley floor is sandy loam, while the mountain slopes are dominated by gravelly volcanic rock. About 30 grape varieties are cultivated, the most important are Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, JR (Riesling), Malbec (Cot), Merlot, Nebbiolo, Petite Sirah (Durif), Sangiovese, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Zinfandel. There are 30 wineries and around 250 grape farmers. Well known producers are Clos du Bois, Gallo, Iron Horse, Jordan, Kendall-Jackson, Ravenswood and Simi Winery.

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