Red Hills Terrain & Soil
The Role of Soil in Red Hills Wine Production
Several million years ago, there were active volcanoes throughout much of Lake, Sonoma, and Napa Counties. The topography and soil of the Red Hills was formed by lava flows and volcanic ash from the eruption of several nearby volcanoes. The AVA is named after its red, oxidized soil. The soil contains a lot of iron and other minerals and is generally quite shallow.
Debris from these ancient catastrophic events litters the soil of the entire North Coast. These soils are known as the Sonoma and Clear Lake Volcanics. Located just north of the Red Hills, Mount Konocti has erupted several times between 2,250,000 and 10,000 years ago. Geologists still classify it as an active volcano.
Soil surrounding the AVA is made of the Franciscan Complex and is much older. The volcanic soil of the Red Hills is aerated and young compared to the denser and older Franciscan Complex.
The region’s elevation ranges from 1,400 to 3,000 feet with vines planted between 1,600 and 2,500 feet above sea level. The AVA encompasses 31,250 acres and is planted with a little over 3,000 acres of vineyards.
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