Calling all Oenophiles….
One of my favorite wine books about the history of Northern Sonoma Wine Country, A Wine Journey Along The Russian River, takes readers on a slow and easy trek through Mendocino County, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek and finally through the storied Russian River Valley. Author Steve Heimoff, previous West Coast Editor of Wine Enthusiast Magazine artfully details the beginning of the region’s viticulture experimentation and influential pioneer wine makers of the day. Filled with first hand encounters and a bird’s eye view from the riverbanks to the vineyards above, this historical read will captivate the best of the wine geeks.
Having spent a lot of time in this wine region, I found the book to be well-researched and have read it cover-to-cover a few times, each time gleaming a deeper insight. Interestingly, there are a few geological theories about the actual rock formation of the Russian River itself, but overall the story line focuses on the key players in the burgeoning wine industry in the 1970’s.
The Russian River, named after the Fort Ross Russian settlers in the early 19th century, flows south, originating east of Willits in Mendocino County, before making a sharp turn to the west near Healdsburg, then continues through Guerneville before meeting the Pacific Ocean. While the Russian River plays an important role in moderating temperatures for grape growing in the valley, it is also an important ecological habitat for warm and cold water fish migration and spawning and boasts sandy beaches for recreation. Heimoff delights readers with stories and interviews from the area’s first growers and vintners in this superb read!