Proposed sub-region delineates Alexander Valley’s eastern highlands
June 8, 2022 (Santa Rosa, California) – A collective group of Sonoma County winegrowers have filed a petition with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to establish a new Pocket Peak American Viticultural Area (AVA). Located in the foothills of Pocket Peak, Geyser Peak, and Black Mountain, the
proposed AVA overlooks the Alexander Valley and is located entirely within the Alexander Valley AVA in northeastern Sonoma County, California.
The proposed Pocket Peak AVA is located east of the communities of Cloverdale, Asti, and Geyserville. The approximate boundary runs south from Big Sulphur Creek, shares the eastern boundaries of the Alexander Valley and Northern Sonoma AVAs, runs adjacent to the Knights Valley AVA in the east, then follows the approximate distinction in soils, slopes, and climate between the valley and highland locations to the south and west.
The Pocket Peak AVA takes its name from the nearby summit, rising 2,256 feet above sea level along the Mayacamas Mountains, approximately 1.25 miles east of the proposed AVA. Pocket Peak is one of three mountains commonly associated with the eastern Alexander Valley highlands, along with Geyser Peak and Black Mountain.
Identified as distinct from the prevailing Alexander Valley AVA due to differences in topography, climate, precipitation, and soils, the proposed region covers approximately 30,755 acres of land and 2,915 acres of planted vines. Factors distinguishing the region from the surrounding Alexander Valley AVA were determined through a comprehensive study completed in March 2019.
Commenting on the relationship between Pocket Peak and the Alexander Valley, Christopher Jackson, Second-Generation Proprietor of Stonestreet Estate Vineyards, says, “We’re proud to share in the incredible topographical and climatic diversity of expression in the Alexander Valley. Our home in Pocket Peak is a special place. The range of soils, coastal influence, elevation, and the natural beauty of the mountains make it one of the most remarkable places for grape growing. Similar to the AVAs found in Napa Valley or Santa Barbara, we believe the distinct features of Alexander Valley deserve to be explored and celebrated for their individuality.”
“In my experience making wine throughout California over the last decade, there is a distinct characteristic in the Alexander Valley’s eastern hillsides that the Pocket Peak AVA defines,” says Jesse Katz, Founder and Winemaker of Aperture Cellars. “One of the greatest challenges for consumers, and one I often experience myself, is the level of variability in the style from Alexander Valley. Defining this unique area as its own AVA would be a huge help to consumers in understanding the region and the evolution of Sonoma County.”
Courtney Foley, Executive Vice President and Second-Generation Vintner of Foley Family Wines, says, “As the Alexander Valley winemaking community continues to evolve, it’s important to increase visibility into the differences that make each growing area so special. Fruit grown in the mountains is notably different from fruit grown in the valley – this extends not only to how the wines taste, but also the farming practices needed to successfully showcase these higher elevation sites,” she says.
JW Reynoso, Vice President of Reynoso Family Vineyards, says, “there are significant terroir distinctions between Pocket Peak and the surrounding areas. These distinctions produce fruit with significantly different characteristics – even within varieties – and the ability to recognize the Pocket Peak area will provide greater precision and efficiency in the Alexander Valley AVA grape market.”
From a storytelling perspective, “Pocket Peak is home to profound wine stories yet to be told,” says Jackson. “As consumers continue to look for authenticity in their wines, the ability to be more specific about these historic, higher elevation sites will lead to stronger and more focused stories for winemakers and grape growers,” Foley agrees.
For more information and to view a list of winegrowers in support of the proposed Pocket Peak AVA, please visit the website: https://www.pocketpeakava.com/
About Pocket Peak AVA
The Pocket Peak AVA is a proposed American Viticultural Area (AVA) in the eastern highlands of the Alexander Valley AVA in Sonoma County. Filed by a collective group of Sonoma County winegrowers, the petition recognizes the region’s higher elevation vineyards as distinct from the valley and prevailing Alexander Valley AVA in terms of topography, climate, precipitation, and soils. Precedence for the establishment of the Pocket Peak AVA was based on a comprehensive geographic study of the area completed in March 2019. For more information about the area and its petition status, please visit: https://www.pocketpeakava.com/.