Appellations & Vineyards
An Early Pioneer In Sonoma
Rod Strong was an acknowledged visionary who understood the potential that Sonoma County’s soil and climate held for producing world-class wines. His desire was to craft wines from a specific place. He was the first to craft a single-vineyard Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the first to plant Pinot Noir in Russian River Valley and the first to produce a Chalk Hill appellation Chardonnay.
Today, the Klein Family, Director of Winemaking Justin Seidenfeld, and Winemaker Greg Morthole continue their drive for innovation and devotion to Sonoma County, with 11 exceptional Estate vineyards representing an ideal range of varietal selection and regional terroir.
A pioneer in the Alexander Valley, Rod Strong was the first to craft a single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon in the Alexander Valley in 1974, it would be a full decade before this appellation was recognized as an AVA.
Alexander Valley is best known for the classic Bordeaux varieties which thrive in the unique soils and warm climate, with parts of the valley moderated by cooling ocean breezes and evening fog. A testament to the amazing quality of the region, each of our single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon releases comes from small Alexander Valley vineyard sites.
The first to see the potential of the Chalk Hill area as an exceptional place for Chardonnay, Rod planted his first Chardonnay vines in 1965 and in 1977, he introduced the world to the first “Chalk Hill” labeled Chardonnay. In 1983, Chalk Hill was designated an official AVA, in an effort spearheaded by Rod Strong himself.
The ocean fog and chalky-white volcanic soils combine to produce distinctive Chardonnays that offer crisp citrus and mineral tones supported by lush floral notes and a rich baked apple character.
In 1968, Rod Strong was one of the first to plan Pinot Noir in the Russian River Valley, again recognizing the potential of this appellation. The Russian River Valley was formally recognized as an AVA in 1983.
Well-known as one of the finest cool-climate growing regions in California, the Russian River Valley has made its mark not only as a premier Chardonnay region, but as one of the few wine regions in the world capable of producing world-class Pinot Noir. The Russian River Valley is also home to our Tasting Room in Healdsburg, California.
The Northern Sonoma appellation covers most of Sonoma County with the notable exceptions of the Los Carneros and Sonoma Valley AVAs, which are located in the southern portion of the county. The second largest AVA within Sonoma County, almost every grape variety that can be grown in Sonoma County thrives in Northern Sonoma.
Our latest crowning achievement in this AVA is the planting of perhaps the last of the greatest vineyards in Sonoma County, Cooley Ranch Vineyard. This high elevation vineyard sits well above the fog line and Lake Sonoma on a pristine property ranging up to 2,040 feet in elevation.