Sonoma County Harvest Fair Logo

Santa Rosa, CA – The Russian River Valley makes another big stride in proving itself to be one of the world’s premiere wine growing regions. In the 2019 Sonoma County Harvest Fair Wine Competition, the top three Sweepstakes winners were all wines made with Russian River Valley grapes. All three of the wineries are also members of the Russian River Valley Winegrowers (RRVW).

“Those of us who live and work in the Russian River Valley know what a treasure we have in the soils and climate that produce some of the most outstanding wines in the world,” says Chris Crispo, President of the Russian River Valley Winegrowers. “It’s gratifying to see that work recognized.”

The Sonoma County Harvest Fair hosted 18 judges over the course of 2 days for a competitive tasting. In the end, the three wines chosen for the top honors are:

Sweepstakes Winning Specialty Wine

Balletto Vineyards & Winery
2013 Sparkling Brut Rose- Estate, Russian River Valley

Sweepstakes Winning White Wine

Russian River Vineyards
2018 Chardonnay- Petersen Vineyard, Russian River Valley

Sweepstakes Winning Red Wine

J Vineyards
2017 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

“My panel had arguably some of the most amazing wines of the competition,” says wine journalist and Harvest Fair Wine Competition judge, Laura Ness. “We felt we had the makings of a sweepstakes-worthy chardonnay in that Russian River Vineyards Petersen Vineyard, and it proved to be an all-around palate pleaser. Russian River really showed its special stuff in this well-run and highly competitive contest, from a plethora of wonderful rosés to exquisite pinot noirs. Kudos to all the winemakers for a great effort on every level.”

The Russian River AVA was established in 1983 and is the second largest appellation in Sonoma County (Sonoma Coast is the first). The area is known for its cool, foggy nights and mornings, which is the perfect weather for cool climate varietals like pinot noir and chardonnay.

Just as a wine region like Burgundy is filled with villages, the Russian River Valley is made up of six smaller areas called “neighborhoods” that stretch from Sebastopol to Santa Rosa and from Forestville to Healdsburg. A new UC Davis study shows scientific proof that each neighborhood is made up of unique soils and terroir that exhibit specific characteristics in the wines resulting in unique textures and aromas for each area.

The Russian River Valley Winegrowers are also celebrating member winery, Gary Farrell for making the list of the top 100 international wineries according to Wine & Spirits magazine. The region is included in Wine Enthusiast magazine’s declaration of Sonoma County being the “Wine Region of the Year”, and all member wineries are currently celebrating Sonoma County Wine Month as declared by the Sonoma County Vintners.

About the Russian River Valley Winegrowers:

The Russian River Valley Winegrowers (RRVW) is a nonprofit marketing and educational organization dedicated to promoting the Russian River Valley as the premier region for growing cool climate grapes while producing wines that showcase the diversity of the AVA’s six neighborhoods. The region’s generations of farmers and winemakers are continuing a long legacy of producing distinctive wines of exceptional quality, authenticity, and integrity. The RRVW has more than 200 members including growers, wineries, and sponsors. The RRVW provides regular marketing, publicity and community relations support through consumer events that promote the Russian River Valley as one of the world’s premier winegrowing regions.