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The History of Dry Creek Wine Country

In 1890, Charles Dunz sold his vineyards and 70,000 gallon-a-year production facility to Andrew Frei. Everett Wise was another early vintner. The local wine industry was devastated by phylloxera and Prohibition. The next few decades saw little vineyard development and focus shifted to other agricultural products.

Investment in the wine industry increased during the 1950s and 1960s. Much of the renewed interest was due to the value of the ancient Zinfandel vineyards that were originally planted by Italian immigrants. This varietal has consistently been the valley’s hallmark.

Since the 1980s, Rhone varietals have also found a home in the valley. Syrah production is especially promising. Many other varietals have been widely planted in recent years, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.

The region has continued to raise its international profile and a serious tasting of Zinfandels is incomplete without examples from the Dry Creek Valley. AVA status was granted in 1983 and encompasses approximately 80,000 acres.

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