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Climate & Geography

The Geography of Bennett Valley

Bennett Valley is a series of high sloping ridges, hills and swales suspended from Bennett Mountain to the north, Taylor Peak to the west and Sonoma Mountain to the south. The AVA lies entirely within the Sonoma Valley appellation, and overlaps part of both Sonoma Mountain and the Sonoma Coast appellations. The boundaries of the AVA roughly correspond to the Matanzas Creek watershed. More of an alluvial bench than a valley, volcanic activity created both the diverse topography and a wide range of soil types, exposures and terrains. The volcanic history of the landscape defines the soils: steep, rocky soils with good drainage encourage deep roots and intense flavors without dilution. With 8140 total acres, about 650 are planted to vineyard, making it one of the smallest AVAs in Sonoma County. Most of the planted acreage sits on a benchland between 400 and 1100 feet above sea level, while the elevation of the region extends up to 1887 feet.


Bennett Valley Climate

Consistent marine influence defines this cool-climate region. Through a deep gap in the mountains (known as the Petaluma Wind Gap), early morning coastal fog and cool marine breezes  pour into the valley on a regular basis throughout the growing season. While the AVA is classified as a very cool climate, the mountains that define its boundaries shelter the vineyards and protect them from extremes. In the lee of the valley walls, abundant sunshine warms the fruit to a long, slow ripening where flavors develop ahead of sugars. The result is Bennett Valley wines are ripe and fully flavored but maintain elegance and complexity that can sometimes be lost in warmer areas. The result is a balanced climate which encourages even vine growth and produces notably balanced wines. These combined factors moderate summer temperatures and keep grapes on the vines late into the season. Bennett Valley typically harvests two to three weeks later even than the Russian River Valley and Carneros
 

Degree Days

2009

2008

2007

Average

Bennett Valley

1990

2385

2027

2134

Carneros

2258

2375

2237

2290

Santa Rosa/Windsor

2084

2458

2316

2286

 

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