Dry Creek Valley is a small American Viticultural Area (AVA) located just north-west of Healdsburg in the Sonoma County wine growing region of California. It takes its name from the river Dry Creek which is a tributary to the Russian River.
The Dry Creek AVA is famous for its Zinfandel amongst the red wines and the Sauvignon Blanc for the whites. The grape-growing history of the area goes back 140 years when Italian settlers moved into the valley following the California Gold Rush. In 1919, prohibition had almost devastated the majority of the vineyards and it wasn't until the 1970s that the revival of the wine industry started, in 1983, the official AVA status of Dry Creek was created.
The climate of Dry Creek Valley is warm with cooling influence by the Pacific Ocean to the west and San Francisco Bay to the south. The famous fog created by this microclimate is vital for the good diurnal temperature variation, which slows the ripening process and ensures the development of balanced acidity as the grapes ripen.
The soil types of the AVA are quite diverse with considerable differences between the hillsides and the valley plain. The predominant soil on the hillsides is gravel with rocks that are rich in iron with good drainage, which is perfect for the Zinfandel vines, whilst in the plain is alluvial soils, which has a good drainage and fertility.
The most planted grape in the Dry Creek Valley is the Zinfandel which shows
typical aromas of ripe raspberries, blackberries and a touch of warm baking spices and has become a benchmark in California. The other significant grapes in the area are Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Chardonnay.