The Effect of Potter Valley Soil on Wine
The Role of Potter Valley Soil and Terrain on Wine Production
Potter Valley runs northwest and is about eight miles long and two miles wide. It is the northernmost valley in the Russian River watershed. The Eel region also runs through the region. Water from the Eel is diverted to the Russian River to irrigate crops in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. Mehwinney and Bush Creeks also run through the region. The abundant ground water is used to irrigate vineyards.
The valley has a naturally high water table that increases the humidity in some vineyards and saturates the ground. This can induce botrytis cinerea or “noble rot” in Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling vines. In addition to sweet botrytis wines, several other grapes are grown in the AVA. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Merlot all have a substantial presence here.
The subsoil of Potter Valley is made of Franciscan bedrock. This layer is covered by alluvial silts and clays on the valley floor. Northern parts of the Potter Valley have a lot of sand and clay in their soil. Soil in southern parts of the valley has more gravel and sandstone.
The Mayacamas Mountains border the AVA to the east, and Redwood Valley borders to the west. On average, Potter Valley is about 200 feet higher than Redwood Valley.
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