Alexander Valley Vineyards is owned and operated by the Harry Wetzel family. Founded in 1975, it is located on Cyrus Alexander's old homestead.
The Wetzel Family Estate now grows fourteen grape varieties, on diverse sites stretching from the banks of the Russian River up onto the hillsides. Each grape variety is matched to a specific soil type and exposure. Vineyard Manager Mark Houser and Winemaker Kevin Hall work as a team to maximize fruit flavor in the vineyard and to create balanced wines that capture the grapes’ varietal characteristics. Hank Wetzel oversees the vineyard and winery operations, and his wife Linda continues to oversee administration. Now the third generation of Wetzels has joined the winery. Harry Wetzel, IV is assistant winemaker while younger brother Robert is the National Sales Manager.
Alexander Valley Vineyards produces 100,000 cases annually, 17 varietal wines and proprietary blends. Seventy-five percent of AVV’s production is red wine. Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon constitute roughly half of total production. Other varietals include Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Gewurztraminer, Syrah, Sangiovese, Viognier, and Cabernet Franc.
Learn More About Gewurztraminer
Gewurztraminer (Guh-WERTZ-trah-meen-ehr) Spice is Nice
If you've ever smelled a lychee, you'll probably recognize a wine made from
Gewurztraminer. Gewurz, the german term for spice, adequately describes the
aromas and flavors that permeate wines made from the grape. Mostly grown in
and Germany's Pfalz region, Gewurztraminer is not the easiest vine to tend.
While it ripens quickly, it also needs some time on the vine to get all of its
aromas and acids balanced - which, in turn makes it more suitable for cooler
climates and constant attention.
Acidity is the maker or breaker of this grape. The distinct aromas and flavors
give the wine depth and body, but without good acid they can be cloying and
flat. Most Gewurtztraminers are dry, but so heady in aromas and texture, that
they can seem sweet to one's senses. You'll also notice that the wines are deep
and rich in color - the skins of the Gewurtztraminer are pinkish-red. Other
than lychee, typical descriptors of Gewurztraminer are roses and perfume. It's
blend of fruits and acid make it a perfect match for spicy food like Indian
Summing it up
Successful Sites: Alsace, Germany
Common Descriptors: lychee nut, floral, perfume
Learn More About Sonoma County, California
Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about a half the amount of wine as her northeasterly neighbor. But Sonoma, with her size, is able to vouch for more diversity within her borders, including sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid back and down home country style. But in wines, they are keeping up with the Joneses, or Napa-ites if you will. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
The largest sub-AVAs of Sonoma include Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Each sub-AVA, with its own micro-climate, is unique in its grape varieties and styles of wine. Dry Creek makes a mean Zinfandel while Russian River produces stand up Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Alexander Valley makes some of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in the county and Sonoma Valley creates excellent wines from all the above varieties. Other grapes found throughout Sonoma include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah.