Fountaingrove District is distinguished by three key aspects of terroir: soil composition, climate and elevation.
Our soils are predominantly Sonoma Volcanics, the result of an eruption of the now-dormant Mount Saint Helena on the northern Sonoma-Napa County border more than 3 million years ago. This same eruption resulted in the Petrified Forest and Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga. The volcanic ash produced a variety of excellent, not overly rich, well-drained soils perfectly suited for growing high-quality grapes. Although other soils, especially the sedimentary Franciscan Complex are present in some vineyards in the AVA, they are most often found in combination with the volcanics.
The climate of the Fountaingrove District AVA is unique. While it is considerably farther inland than most other Sonoma County AVAs, the gap in the Sonoma Mountains at the City of Santa Rosa allow the maritime influence to penetrate the AVA. As a result, our Cabernet and Syrah tend toward lower alcohol and more subtle flavors than in hotter growing regions.
Hillsides can also provide the opportunity for microclimates based on the geographic orientation of the planted slopes. For example, while our growing region is generally considered too hot for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, certain north-facing slopes have produced award-winning complex Pinots and ripe, tropical fruit-flavored Chardonnays.
While each of these characteristics of soil, climate and elevation can be found in other growing areas, the combination of volcanic soil, hillside vineyards and warm climate tempered with maritime influences is unique to Fountaingrove District.